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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 23 September 2010) . . Page.. 4436 ..

Going to the substance of the bill itself, the bill repeals legislation and makes consequential and transitional amendments in accordance with the agreement of the government to transfer responsibility for regulation of consumer credit to the commonwealth. Secondly, the bill makes amendments to the Evidence (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act to facilitate the giving and receiving of evidence in proceedings before territory courts.

Thirdly, the bill amends the Supreme Court Act to ensure that a judge, in a trial by judge alone, must take into account any warnings that would, under the commonwealth Evidence Act, have had to be given to a jury. Finally, the bill makes a minor amendment to the Juries Act in order to allow the prescribed scale of jury payments to be made by ministerial determination via a disallowable instrument.

Turning to the detail of these amendments, in March and June 2008, COAG agreed that the commonwealth would assume responsibility for a national system for the regulation of credit and a related cluster of additional financial services. In December 2009, the government signed the COAG intergovernmental national credit law agreement which underpins the national credit legislation and outlines the implementation process for that legislation.

On 26 October 2009, the commonwealth parliament passed the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009. This national act adopted the existing territory legislation, the uniform consumer credit code, into commonwealth legislation and established a national licensing regime. The commonwealth’s responsibility for consumer credit commenced on 1 July this year. The commonwealth legislation includes and extends the uniform consumer credit code that previously operated in the territory. In line with the COAG agreement, this bill repeals relevant ACT consumer credit legislation which no longer operates since the commencement of the new commonwealth scheme.

In this bill, the government has ensured that consumers continue to benefit from the consumer credit regulation scheme that has previously operated in the territory. The bill preserves a number of protections and territory fair trading law until the relevant commonwealth legislation, chapter 3 of the national act, which will also provide these protections, commences on 1 January next year. The bill preserves the due diligence obligations currently placed on credit card providers under section 28 of the Fair Trading Act until the commonwealth legislation takes over in this area on 1 January next year. From next year, new commonwealth legislation will commence which substantially parallels and extends these protections.

The government has taken steps to ensure that consumers continue to be protected with respect to finance broking commission charges until the commonwealth legislation again commences on 1 January next year. The ACT legislation providing a maximum annual percentage rate for a credit contact is preserved, so that consumers in the ACT will continue to be protected from unfair and extreme interest rates. The commonwealth government is currently examining different options for providing protections in this area as part of stage 2 of its consumer credit reforms.

The bill also amends evidence legislation in the ACT and provides a set of amendments that facilitate the giving and receiving of evidence in proceedings before

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