Response to Statement of Expectations 2017-19

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28 June, 2017

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

Dear Minister

Statement of Expectations for 2017-19

On 28 June 2017, you provided your Statement of Expectations for Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) and the Business Licensing Authority (BLA) for 2017-19 (please take 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.

Improved timeliness

Make it easier for licensees and registrants to submit required data online, check on their application status and remain compliant with their obligations CAV will reduce the time required by operators of licensing and registration schemes to interact with us via more efficient digital services. This will involve replacing legacy systems that support existing licensing and registration schemes with one enterprise-wide application that will enhance our web-based service delivery upon which regulated individuals and groups transact and communicate with us. This platform will enable CAV to deliver services to its stakeholders in ways that are “digital first” - convenient, available when it suits them, taking advantage of technology to reduce the effort involved in fulfilling their regulatory obligations.

This multi-phase project will further the work done for the Incorporated Associations and extend CAV’s integrated digital self-service portal, myCAV, for licensing and registration transactions. It will provide Victorians with the opportunity to access, share, submit and update information in a way that does not depend upon intervention by individual CAV staff.
Expand use of the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority’s Electronic Transactions by property managers to make it easier to submit forms The new online service that replaces five paper-based processes will be provided free of cost to the users of these services, whether it be a private landlord or licensed estate agent. Managers of rented properties will be able to register with the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority (RTBA) and have a seamless experience, including the ability to undertake electronic transactions.

The project will include an assessment of the current attitudes to electronic transactions and use the information gained to design and implement a comprehensive promotion and education program aimed to better meet the needs of clients and improve their online engagement.
Reduce red tape and duplicated reporting requirements for a range of not-for-profit incorporated associations and registered fundraisers The charitable and not-for-profit sector provides a vital social and economic contribution to Victoria. CAV is committed to identifying opportunities for appropriate, modern reform of existing regulation of the sector to reduce unnecessary red tape so that charities and not-for-profits can focus their time and resources on fulfilling their community and social purposes.

CAV will identify opportunities to reduce regulatory burden and reporting obligations of incorporated associations and fundraisers that are registered as charities with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) and implement actions to reduce red tape.

Around 2,000 fundraisers and 3,000 incorporated associations that are registered both with CAV and the ACNC will benefit from the introduction of a ‘report once – use often’ approach to annual regulatory reporting requirements.

Risk-based strategies

Improve CAV compliance operations to concentrate on areas of greatest risk to the achievement of regulatory outcomes CAV will establish a Compliance Operating Model to ensure that risk is at the centre of compliance decision making. This will involve strengthening the risk assessment process and enhancing compliance intelligence to inform inspection targeting.

Compliance related assistance and advice

Increase awareness and understanding amongst estate agents of their obligations under the legislation concerning underquoting On 1 May 2017, changes to the Estate Agents Act 1980 came into effect strengthening laws against underquoting in Victoria.

CAV will roll out a program to inform the real estate industry about the legislative changes and educate estate agents through multiple communication tools about their obligations under the new law with the aim to reduce industry non-compliance. This will be done through a focused business education program, which will support CAV’s State Inspection Program and ensure estate agents are reached through a number of different channels. CAV will also produce an underquoting communications campaign targeting potential buyers to increase their awareness of estate agent obligations and their rights under the new legislation.
Make online advice on regulatory requirements accessible to all regulated parties including businesses, advocates, landlords, tenants and consumers CAV’s digital first approach will continue through the work on designing a responsive website as a way to engage and enable Victorian businesses and consumers to access easy to understand information on a range of devices and platforms. This will promote a seamless experience on desktop, tablets and mobile.

In addition to the written content, the use of video, icons and other visual tools will assist consumers to understand their rights and responsibilities, and businesses to understand what they have to do to comply with the law.

The website will provide assistance in languages other than English, and options for those with low literacy, learning disabilities and visual impairment.

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 and

Director, Consumer Affairs Victoria