Dr Claire Noone
Director, Consumer Affairs Victoria
Level 17, 121 Exhibition Street
Melbourne Victoria 3001
Dear Dr Noone,
Statement of Expectations for Consumer Affairs Victoria and the Business Licensing Authority
I am pleased to provide you with this Statement of Expectations (SOE) for Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) and the Business Licensing Authority (BLA) for the period 2014-15 and 2015 16. Please note that a reference to CAV in this SOE also includes the BLA.
This SOE sets out my expectations of CAV’s continued contribution to the Government's program to reduce red tape affecting businesses, not-for-profit organisations, government service providers and households by promoting greater efficiency and effectiveness in the administration and enforcement of regulation.
As Minister for Consumer Affairs, I am responsible for administering the Australian Consumer Law and Fair Trading Act 2012 and related consumer protection legislation that affect businesses and the broader Victorian community. This SOE should be read within the context of the objectives, obligations and functions set out in these Acts.
This SOE outlines key governance and performance objectives and targets aimed at improving the administration and enforcement of regulation and thus reducing its cost impact on business and the community.
A key element of good regulatory practice is the application of risk management to regulatory activities which includes encouraging voluntary compliance and inspections, investigations and enforcement of the law where serious breaches are found or suspected.
I am pleased that, since the issuing of my first statement of expectations, CAV has sought to achieve the right balance between supporting businesses seeking to comply with the law and strict enforcement for those that do not. I note for instance that CAV has:
- developed the Compliance Assistance Site Visit as a means of assisting businesses meet their compliance requirements obviating the need for burdensome inspections. Small businesses sometimes do not have the expertise to fully understand their regulatory obligations and these visits provide valuable assistance to businesses;
- increased and targeted inspections and investigations of high-risk areas of activity, such as misappropriation of trust account funds by estate agents and rooming house minimum standards; and
- developed a risk-based approach to licensing decisions, that allows low-risk applications to be processed by frontline staff, speeding up the time taken to finalise those applications.
I expect CAV to continue to take this risk-based approach to regulation as part of my second SOE. I further direct CAV to identify key areas of governance and operational performance where there are opportunities for CAV to make improvements that reduce the cost of regulation for business, while maintaining a high level of consumer protection.
I expect CAV to identify and provide regular reporting to me on activities it will undertake to achieve the following improvements in performance:
Increased accountability and transparency
- Inform business and consumers about CAV’s regulatory approach to risk, enforcement and regulatory action.
- Provide information on service standards for the processing of all applications.
- Reduce by 50% the time required for tenants and landlords to request a residential tenancy inspection.
- Make reporting for landlords, agents and tenants easier and recorded permanently for the duration of a lease.
- Make it simpler for private landlords to submit residential tenancy bonds to the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority.
- Reduce by 20% the time required by Incorporated Associations and Fundraisers to submit and process information.
Clearer and more consistent regulation
- Reduce the regulatory burden on motor car traders and second-hand dealers by aiming to have at least 40% renewing their licences online by the end of 2014-15.
- Reduce by 20% the regulatory burden on landlords and agents by setting out online the rights and duties of a landlord and tenant.
- Reduce the regulatory burden on sellers of property, estate agents, conveyancers and lawyers by implementing reforms to section 32 statements in the Sale of Land Act.
- Reduce the regulatory burden on motor car traders in producing notices and forms when selling motor cars by implementing changes to the Motor Car Traders Act.
Better compliance assistance and advice
- Increase self-help tools for businesses to improve rates of compliance.
In implementing these improvements and targets, CAV is expected to consult with business and the broader community. If legislation constrains implementation of any of the above performance targets, I expect CAV to advise me on required amendments.
Reporting on CAV’s progress to achieve these SOE performance targets should occur via annual financial reporting. As part of CAV’s annual reporting, I expect it to report on:
- current baseline levels for performance targets set in this SOE; and
- activities to be undertaken to reach the performance targets and improvements set out in this SOE.
These SOE initiatives are to be incorporated into CAV’s Corporate Plan, and this SOE should be published on CAV’s website. I expect that within one month of receiving this letter, CAV will respond to this SOE, outlining how it intends to achieve the performance improvements and targets set out in this SOE. This response should include details of the specific activities that will be undertaken by CAV.
I look forward to seeing CAV working towards achieving best practice in the administration and enforcement of regulation in Victoria.
HON. HEIDI VICTORIA MP
Minister for Consumer Affairs