Response to statement of expectations 2016-17

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Hon Marlene Kairouz MP
Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming & Liquor Regulation
Level 26, 121 Exhibition Street
Melbourne, VIC 3000

Dear Minister,

Statement of Expectations for 2016-17

On 28 June 2016 you provided your Statement of Expectations for Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) and the Business Licensing Authority (BLA) for 2016-17 (please take a reference to CAV in this letter as including the BLA). The Statement communicated your expectations for CAV to contribute 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.

CAV will initiate appropriate projects to achieve the outcomes identified in your statement. Specific responses to your initiatives are detailed below.

Increased accountability and transparency

Inform business and consumers about CAV's regulatory approach to risk, enforcement and regulatory action  CAV will produce a public statement on CAV’s regulatory approach, including how CAV manages risk and its approach to compliance and enforcement.

This will build on the already existing CAV compliance and enforcement policy and conciliation policy and will provide a mechanism to inform the community on how CAV approaches regulatory decisions.

Improved timeliness

Reduce the time required for consumers to access the right information and advice relating to building or renovating in Victoria   Consumers need access to clear, comprehensive and timely information and advice on their rights and obligations in relation to building and renovating in Victoria.

CAV will develop an online tool to assist consumers who are building or renovating to find the information they need quickly and easily.

The tool will take consumers through a question tree to ascertain which stage they are at in the building process, and direct them to the information that they require.
Make it simpler for private landlords to submit residential tenancy bonds to the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority  Currently the RTBA allows Electronic Funds transfer (EFT) transactions for agents submitting bonds; however, the functionality is not currently available to private landlords.

This proposal is possible following completion of enhancements to the RTBA Online transactional website, completed in 2015.

A business case to identify enhancements required to implement an EFT facility has been developed and implementation is anticipated to be completed by the end of 2016.

Reducing the cost of compliance for small business

Reduce the delays and costs for builders and consumers in relation to resolving disputes   The Building Legislation Amendment (Consumer Protection) Act 2016 creates a new scheme for the resolution of domestic building disputes that are currently handled by Building Advice and Conciliation Victoria (BACV), the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) or through private mechanisms.

The scheme creates a new dispute resolution service for both consumers and builders. Domestic Building Dispute Resolution Victoria will have access to independent expert building advice and can issue binding orders where conciliation does not resolve the matters in dispute.

Mandatory conciliation and binding dispute resolution orders will help to resolve building disputes faster and more affordably. The new scheme should significantly reduce the delays, costs and stresses typically associated with formal tribunal or court legal proceedings.

In implementing these measures, CAV will consult with relevant stakeholders in industry, the community and other government agencies. CAV will report its progress against your targets in our Annual Report.

CAV is proud of our record to date in refocusing on service delivery to better serve consumers and businesses.

In line with the Victorian Government’s commitment to an ongoing reduction in the administrative burden of regulation, CAV will continue to identify and implement burden reduction initiatives.

Yours sincerely,

Simon Cohen
Deputy Secretary, Regulation &
Director, Consumer Affairs Victoria