A sustainable and innovative regulator

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Efficient and effective internal operations are critical to our ability to be a modern and effective regulator. We continue working on new ways to develop our capability, technology and approach to collaborating with our partner agencies.

We commenced a two-year program to reduce the cost of regulation for business, while maintaining appropriate consumer protections, outlined in our Statements of Expectations 2017–19.

We continued to develop mutually beneficial partnerships with key stakeholders and organisations through our Partnership Strategy.

We are supporting the establishment of a new GovHub office to be built in Ballarat, an investment in the future of regional Victoria.

We established a compliance operating model to ensure that risk is at the centre of compliance decision making. Our intelligence capabilities were recognised through a national award from the Australian Institute of Professional Intelligence Officers.

Through effective management of our trust accounts, in accordance with relevant legislation, the Victorian Government was able to allocate $29 million from the VPF to important affordable housing projects.

We also launched the first VPF funding round to support registered housing agencies to improve the environmental sustainability of their social housing properties.

We continue to develop mutually beneficial partnerships with key stakeholders and organisations through our Partnership Strategy. This included holding a second consumer forum in November 2017, and convening meetings of our reference panels for real estate and funded services.

We developed Partnership Protocols to provide clarity on the nature of the support and engagement and information sharing with our partners, as well as individual partnership plans, tailored to specific partners.

Connecting with our partners and stakeholders enables us to better understand the Victorian consumer and residential tenancy marketplaces. We respect their knowledge and expertise, and value their input when establishing our priorities.

The Government is investing in the future of regional Victoria by creating hundreds of public sector jobs at a new GovHub office to be built in Ballarat. Our Information and Dispute Services Centre, which provides front-line service delivery to the Victorian community, will move to the Ballarat GovHub, with construction expected to be complete in late 2020.

The new office will be located at the Civic Hall site in Ballarat’s central business district. The site is being redeveloped by Development Victoria in partnership with the City of Ballarat Council and will combine government offices with community services and local businesses.

The GovHub design followed consultation with the local community and recognises the important cultural and community significance of the existing Civic Hall and library within the City of Ballarat, while also creating a modern and accessible workplace.

We are committed to ensuring no interruption to the delivery of quality services to the Victorian community during the transition to Ballarat GovHub and to supporting staff whose roles are affected by the move.

We were awarded the 2017 Organisation Award by the Australian Institute of Professional Intelligence Officers (AIPIO) for our “distinguished innovative contribution to the advancement of the intelligence profession in Australia”.

The award was presented on the opening night of the AIPIO conference in Hobart by President Dr Philip Kowalick. The award recognised our work to enhance our intelligence capabilities and embed our regulatory approach as intelligence-led, risk-based and outcome focused.

We also shared our approach to capability development at the inaugural Regulatory Intelligence Conference, held in Sydney in September 2017.

In June 2017, the Minister for Consumer Affairs issued a reducing red tape Statement of Expectations to Consumer Affairs Victoria and the Business Licensing Authority for 2017–19.

This Statement sets out the Minister’s expectations of our continued contribution to the Government’s Regulation Reform 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. It also outlines the Minister’s expectations for broader improvements to our performance.

The statement encouraged us to continue with our risk-based approach to regulation and to identify key areas of governance and operational performance where there are opportunities to make improvements that reduce the cost of regulation for business, not-for-profit organisations, government service providers and households.

The projects identified as part of the statement fall under three broad objectives.

We made it easier for licensees and registrants to submit required data online, check their application status and remain compliant with their obligations through the expansion of myCAV for licensing and registration transactions.

We identified opportunities to reduce the regulatory burden and reporting obligations of incorporated associations and fundraisers registered as charities with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission and implement actions to reduce red tape.

We expanded the use of the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority’s (RTBA) electronic transactions by property managers (both licensed estate agents and private landlords), to make it easier to submit forms.

The new online service replaces five paper-based processes, and has been provided free of cost. Managers of rented properties are now able to register with the RTBA and have a seamless experience, including electronic transactions.

We established a compliance operating model to ensure that risk is at the centre of compliance decision making. This involved strengthening the risk assessment process and enhancing compliance intelligence to inform inspection targeting.

Our regulatory approach enables us to target the conduct which poses the highest risk, making the best use of our resources. Our compliance operating model ensures that the approach is embedded in our day-to-day work.

Changes to the Estate Agents Act 1980 came into effect on 1 May 2017, strengthening laws against underquoting in Victoria.

We increased awareness and understanding of the new laws through a campaign to inform the real estate industry about the legislative changes, including educating agents about their obligations, with the aim of reducing industry non-compliance.

We produced an underquoting communications campaign, targeting potential buyers, to increase their awareness of estate agent obligations and their rights under the new legislation.

We continued our work on our digital-first approach, designing and implementing a responsive website to engage and enable Victorian businesses and consumers to access easy-to-understand information on a range of devices and platforms.

We manage eight funds established by Acts of Parliament.

Trust funds administered by Consumer Affairs Victoria

Trust fund Expenditure includes
Domestic Builders Fund Administration of the Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995, costs relating to the VCAT Domestic Building List and Domestic Building Dispute Resolution Victoria.
Motor Car Traders Guarantee Fund Administration of the Motor Car Traders Act 1986, guarantee fund claims.
Residential Bonds Investment Income Account Administration of the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority.
Residential Bonds Account Bonds held on trust, repayment of bonds.
Residential Tenancies Fund Administration of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997, costs relating to the VCAT Residential Tenancies List.
Sex Work Regulation Fund Administration of the Sex Work Act 1994.
Victorian Consumer Law Fund Administration of the Australian Consumer Law and Fair Trading Act 2012 Part 7, Division 2, s.102A to E, orders for payment to nonparty consumers, special purpose grants.
Victorian Property Fund Administration of the Estate Agents Act 1980 and other real estate related legislation as permitted by s.75 of the Act, grants relating to property and housing as permitted by s.76(3) of the Act, operation of the Estate Agents Council, trust fund claims, costs relating to the VCAT Owners Corporation List.

 

CAV administered $27 million in grants from the Victorian Property Fund for nine community housing programs. Funding provided 229 additional houses and apartments for low income and other vulnerable Victorians

The Estate Agents Act 1980 allows the Minister for Consumer Affairs to make grants from the Victorian Property Fund (VPF) for the purposes specified in section 76(3) of the Act.

The Minister makes her decision on grants after consultation with CAV, the Estate Agents Council and any industry associations, government departments and other organisations, as appropriate.

We are responsible for administering the VPF grants program, which includes evaluating applications, making recommendations regarding proposals to the Minister, and administering the grants awarded.

A key priority for the VPF grants program is to assist community housing organisations and develop new social housing for low-income and disadvantaged Victorians.

Under the 2017–18 VPF Housing Funding Round, Minister for Consumer Affairs Marlene Kairouz awarded nine new grants for community housing development projects to help accommodate Victorians in need.

These projects, across metropolitan and regional locations, will provide housing for a range of low income or disadvantaged groups, including victims of family violence, older women, singles at risk of homelessness, and people with a disability.

This year, the Minister awarded $1.3 million under the first VPF environmentally sustainable housing funding round. Five grants were awarded to help registered housing agencies improve the energy and thermal efficiency of existing social housing, reducing electricity bills and improving health outcomes for low income tenants.

In 2017–18, the Minister approved 17 grants from the fund, totalling over $29 million. These are outlined in Table 9. Value is reported exclusive of GST, representing the net cost to the fund. Expenditure shown in the financial information section of this report reflects part payment of these grants plus payments made in 2017–18 for grants approved in previous years.

Grants made from the Victorian Property Fund in 2017–18

Recipient Description of funded program Value (ex GST)
Community Housing Federation of Victoria Inc Community housing energy efficiency facilitation and support services $100,000
Real Estate Institute of Victoria Ltd Professional development 2017–18 $264,062
Australian Livestock and Property Agents Association Ltd Professional development and education 2017–20 $174,340
Unison Housing Ltd Environmentally sustainable housing project 2018–19 $230,000
Community Housing (Vic) Ltd Environmentally sustainable housing project 2018–19 $256,000
Housing Choices Australia Ltd Environmentally sustainable housing project 2018–19 $177,512
South Port Community Housing Group Inc Environmentally sustainable housing project 2018–19 $95,000
SouthEast Housing Cooperative Ltd Environmentally sustainable housing project 2018–19 $518,505
Unison Housing Ltd Social housing development at 52 Napier Street, Footscray $5,000,000
Community Housing (Vic) Ltd Social housing development at 23 Cilento Crescent, Lynbrook $2,800,000
Women’s Housing Ltd Social housing development at 658 Mountain Highway, Bayswater $2,081,698
Victorian Women’s Housing Association Ltd Social housing development at 20 Storey Drive, Pakenham $1,335,000
Housing Choices Australia Ltd Social housing development at 9 Gertrude Street, St Albans $1,561,070
Launch Housing Ltd Transportable modular housing on VicRoads blocks $3,000,000
Loddon Mallee Housing Services Ltd Social housing developments at 17A Lobb Street and 57 Somerville Street, Bendigo $2,780,000
Rural Housing Network Ltd Five social housing developments in Mitchell Shire $2,017,000
Port Phillip Housing Association Ltd Redevelopment of the Regal, 5 Little Grey Street, St Kilda $6,888,840
Total   $29,279,027