Page 381 - Week 01 - Thursday, 16 February 2012

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Clause 9 agreed to.

Clause 10 negatived.

Clauses 11 to 23, by leave, taken together and agreed to.

Remainder of bill, by leave, taken as a whole and agreed to.

Bill, as amended, agreed to.

Business Names Registration (Transition to Commonwealth) Bill 2011

Debate resumed from 28 October 2011, on motion by Mr Corbell:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (5.00): The Liberal opposition will be supporting this bill, which repeals the Business Names Act 1963 and subordinate legislation and completes the process of transferring responsibility for the registration of business names to the commonwealth. I thank the attorney for arranging a briefing on this bill, which we received in November last year. This bill, I understand, meets a commitment made in the intergovernmental agreement signed by the ACT and all jurisdictions on 2 July 2009 and tabled in the Assembly on 18 August 2009.

Under this legislation, existing business names will be transferred automatically to the national system, which starts in May this year. Transitional arrangements are built into the bill and overlap the national scheme start date to enable name renewals to continue through the Office of Regulatory Services for one month, challenges to be made to the Supreme Court for two months, and revocations of cancellation decisions by ORS for three months after changeover.

What are the benefits to the ACT arising out of this bill? According to the attorney’s presentation speech, this bill will reduce red tape; lower fees; create efficiencies by enabling businesses to operate across jurisdictions with just one registration; increase competition; enhance consumer protection; enable better monitoring to prevent names likely to offend, mislead or deceive consumers; provide a one-stop link to trademark and domain name searches; allow for consistency in assessing proposed business names; and create geographical identifiers for similar business names.

The scrutiny of bills committee raised a concern the bill may engage the Human Rights Act through the transfer of personal information about business proprietors to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission. The committee did not call on the attorney to respond, but it should be noted that the explanatory statement seeks to address this issue, arguing that limitations on privacy are reasonable and minimised by the protections in commonwealth regulations. It also argues that information to be collected is no more than currently is the case.

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