27 September 2021
Executive Director, Regulatory Services
Director, Consumer Affairs Victoria
Level 17, 121 Exhibition Street
MELBOURNE VIC 3000
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). This SOE applies for the period 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2023, or until otherwise amended. Please note that a reference to CAV in this SOE also includes the BLA, recognising that CAV provides services to Victorians on behalf of the BLA.
This SOE is issued in the context of the challenges currently being faced by the Victorian community arising from the Victorian bushfires in January 2020 and the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Consumers, renters and the various sectors and occupations regulated by the BLA have been significantly impacted.
Improving 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 shaping Victoria’s policy and regulatory settings to promote fair economic activity, support businesses, and ensure adequate protections for consumers and renters.
This SOE sets out my expectations of CAV’s contribution to the Government’s commitment to social and economic recovery by promoting greater efficiency and effectiveness in the administration and enforcement of regulation. Effective consumer regulation is an important tool to promote social and economic recovery by supporting individuals to participate in the economy safely and fairly and by providing businesses with the certainty needed to thrive and grow in a fair marketplace.
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. It replaces the SOE that was in place for 2019-2021.
This SOE should also be read within the context of the objectives, obligations and functions outlined in the relevant legislation CAV and the BLA administer, as amended from time to time.
Improvements and targets
Based on consultation, I have identified key elements of governance and operational performance where there are opportunities for CAV to make improvements that would reduce red tape wherever possible, whilst maintaining appropriate protections. CAV is expected to identify activities it will undertake to achieve the following performance improvements and targets:
Support economic and social recovery
- Prioritise regulatory reforms necessary to address the areas of greatest potential consumer harm in a recovering economy, while ensuring businesses have the tools they need to expand and adapt in a changing marketplace.
- Promote and advance national harmonisation of regulation to reduce business costs and increase community understanding of their consumer rights and responsibilities.
- Implement ongoing digital improvements to make licensing and registration interactions quicker and easier for businesses, professionals, and community groups.
- Put consumers at the centre of the design and enforcement of regulation, with a focus on consumer wellbeing, accessibility, engagement with diverse communities, and minimising the risk of consumer harm and supporting the confident participation of consumers in the market.
Compliance related assistance and advice
- Support businesses to acquit their regulatory obligations effectively and efficiently, whilst also ensuring that businesses do not undertake poor trading conduct or predatory practices.
I expect these SOE performance targets will be incorporated into CAV’s business plans, this SOE should be published on CAV’s website upon receipt, and CAV should report on its progress against the performance targets as part of annual reporting to avoid dual reporting streams.
I also expect that within one month of receipt of this letter, CAV will respond to this SOE, outlining how it intends to achieve the performance improvements and targets set in this SOE. This response should include details of the specific activities that will be undertaken by CAV.
Please note that I am aware of advice received by the Department of Justice and Community Safety from the Department of Treasury and Finance (DTF) concerning a review of the current framework that governs SOEs, and that I may issue a revised SOE to the BLA and CAV to incorporate additional expectations once the DTF review is completed.
CAV is also currently undertaking a review of its future strategic priorities. I will therefore update this SOE to incorporate my expectations around the delivery of CAV’s strategic priorities following completion of the review.
I look forward to seeing CAV continue to work towards achieving best practice in the administration and enforcement of regulation for the benefit of the Victorian community.
Hon Melissa Horne MP
Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation