Response to statement of expectations 2021-23

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12 October 2021

Hon Melissa Horne MP
Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming & Liquor Regulation
1 Spring Street
Melbourne VIC 3000

Dear Minister

Statement of Expectations for 2021-23

On 29 September 2021, you provided your Statement of Expectations for Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) and the Business Licensing Authority (BLA) for 2021-23. Please take references to CAV in this letter to also include the BLA, recognising that CAV provides services to Victorians on behalf of the BLA.

The Statement communicated your expectations for CAV to contribute to the Government’s commitment to social and economic recovery by promoting greater efficiency and effectiveness in the administration and enforcement of regulation.

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

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. 

CAV will deliver digital improvements for users of BLA and CAV online licensing and registration systems that will support economic recovery and save time and effort for Victorian businesses and community groups while addressing consumer harms. Digital improvements include for national licensing and occupational mobility reform (“automatic mutual recognition”) readiness and streamlining online compliance functions such as allowing rooming house operators to upload gas and electrical safety checks online. 

Improved timeliness

Promote and advance national harmonisation of regulation to reduce business costs and increase community understanding of their consumer rights and responsibilities.  CAV will implement the national automatic mutual recognition of licensed occupations with digital changes to its online systems to allow interstate licensees to notify the BLA of their commencement in Victoria, plus update appropriate public registers. 
Implement ongoing digital improvements to make licensing and registration interactions quicker and easier for businesses, professionals, and community groups.  As part of delivering digital improvements for users of BLA and CAV online licensing and registration systems, CAV will implement improved online identity verification capabilities, first for professional engineers and then expanding to other sectors.

Risk-based strategies

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. 

CAV will continue to develop its community engagement and apply a risk-based, intelligence-led, and outcomes-focused regulatory approach with an emphasis on its current regulatory priorities: better housing services, fair and safe trading in a COVID world, protecting consumers in financial stress, and trust account obligations and defalcations.

In line with its current regulatory priorities, CAV will apply its risk-based, intelligence-led, and outcomes-focused approach to enhance compliance in the rooming house sector and with the laws regulating the use and management of trust accounts by estate agents and conveyancers. 

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. 

The Professional Engineers registration scheme commenced on 1 July 2021 and CAV will monitor registration operations and review and maintain online content to support professional engineers’ compliance with the scheme and ensure appropriate protections are in place for consumers of engineering services throughout the two-and-a-half year phase-in period.

CAV will provide more efficient digital mechanisms for agents and rental providers to submit data to the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority. 

In implementing these measures, CAV will consult with relevant stakeholders in industry, the community and other government agencies to ensure that regulation is clear and provides the certainty necessary for business to invest and grow. CAV will also report on its progress against these measures as part of its annual reporting.

In line with the Victorian Government’s commitment to economic recovery, CAV will continue to explore options to reduce red tape wherever possible, whilst maintaining appropriate protections for consumers and renters.

Yours sincerely

Nicole Rich
Executive Director, Regulatory Services and
Director, Consumer Affairs Victoria