Conveyancers Licensing Bill

Better Business June/July 03

Once again Parliament returned recently following a long recess for the State Election. A number of Bills are being examined and I wish to mention the Conveyancers Licensing Bill, the Valuers Bill and the Consumer Credit Administration Amendment (Finance Brokers) Bill. The proposed reforms for all Bills are based on the recommendations of a National Competition Policy review. It should be noted that this information is extracted from Hansard and should you wish to view or be aware of what legislation is debated, it is available on line at www.parliament.nsw.gov.au.

Conveyancers Licensing Bill

The Conveyancers Licensing Bill repeals the Conveyancers Licensing Bill replacing it with a new Act that aims to improve consumer protection, allows conveyancers to incorporate, introduce "rules" for conveyancers, clarifies and updates existing legislation, and reforms the disciplinary scheme. Licensing for conveyancers was first introduced in 1992 to increase competition in the provision of conveyancing services by allowing other qualified professionals to undertake conveyancing work and to protect consumers of conveyancing services by providing that conveyancers must be licensed, accountable and meet certain standards of competence. Retained in the Act are the current boundaries for the legal work a conveyancer may undertake. There are three main categories of proposals, which encompass licensing requirements, general conduct of licensees and discipline and enforcement.

Valuers Bill

This Bill being implemented aims to improve the efficiency and flexibility of the system for regulating valuers in NSW. Valuers are currently regulated under the Valuers Registration Act 1975 which establishes an occupational licensing regime for valuers and provides for the Office of Fair Trading to register valuers who have completed an approved course of study and met prescribed practical experience requirements. Changes to the Act reflect changes in the industry, which have seen valuers move into new practice areas.

Consumer Credit Administration Amendment (Finance Brokers) Bill

The aim of this Bill is to significantly improve the protection offered to consumers who use the services of finance brokers, increase competition in the finance broking industry and bring legislation governing finance brokers into line with new industry practices. In brief the Bill requires; an upfront disclosure of any commission to be paid by the consumer, which is essential to enable the consumer to make an informed choice about using the broker. the proposal will increase competition in the finance broking industry by helping consumers to decide which broker is offering the most competitive arrangement. disclosure of the broker's financial relationship with lenders and the fact that the broker's recommendations will be drawn from a limited range of lenders are two of the most important requirements in the bill. The disclosures will alert consumers to the fact that brokers are not independent and their recommendations may be influenced by financial or other benefits. alerting consumers to the financial relationships between lenders and brokers will help to ensure that consumers question brokers about the reasons for the recommendations, and scrutinize more closely the conditions of the credit product being recommended. The Carr Government proposes that changes to the above Bills will protect the consumers and provide a balanced approach to regulation and will be of benefit to consumers and industries. If at anytime you wish to contact me in this regard or in relation to other matters, please do not hesitate to contact my office.

I invite and encourage your feedback on (ph) 6621 3624, (fax) 6622 1403, PO Box 52 Lismore, email: thomas.george@parliament.nsw.gov.au or visit www.thomasgeorge.com.au

Lismore Contact Details:

Office: 55 Carrington Street  LISMORE
Postal: PO Box 52  LISMORE  NSW  2480
Telephone: 02 6621 3624
Facsimile: 02 6622 1403
Email: lismore@parliament.nsw.gov.au

Murwillumbah Contact Details:

Telephone: 02 6672 7577