The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
Picture of Chris Bowen

Chris Bowen

Minister for Financial Services, Superannuation and Corporate Law

9 June 2009 - 14 September 2010

Media Release of 09/02/2010

NO.010

Amendments to Ensure an Effective Referral of Consumer Credit powers to The Commonwealth

Tomorrow the Government will introduce legislation into the parliament that will give effect to the referral of responsibility for consumer credit to the Commonwealth.

Passage of the National Consumer Credit Protection Amendment Bill is the final step for the Commonwealth in creating a single, standard, national regime for the regulation of consumer credit. 

“This landmark reform has been achieved through the strong commitment by the Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments working in a spirit of cooperation to build the COAG reform vision for a single, uniform national credit law,” Mr Bowen said.

As the Commonwealth's legislative powers alone are not sufficient to enact a nationally comprehensive consumer credit regulatory framework the States have agreed to refer their powers to the Commonwealth, under section 51 of the Constitution, by passing relevant referral legislation in their respective Parliaments.  This is an integral element of the reform.

In response to state concerns raised in December last year, the Commonwealth and State Governments agreed to modify the terms of the amendment power in the Referral Bills (the Bills to be enacted by the States to refer power to the Commonwealth) to allow certain subject matters (such as State taxation) to be excluded from the scope of the amendment power.

To give effect to that agreement this Bill amends the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 (the Credit Act) to enable an effective reference of State power to be made either with or without exclusions to that power.

The amendments in this Bill will also allow the States to refer their regulatory powers in relation to consumer credit by ‘adopting' the Commonwealth's legislation and referring an amendment power.  This will ensure the constitutional soundness of the referral of consumer credit powers. 

These amendments provide the flexibility sought by the States to enable them to refer their powers for consumer credit regulation to the Commonwealth.  Following the Commonwealth's enactment of this Bill, the States wishing to refer powers excluding certain subject matters or using the adoption approach will be able to do so.

Following enactment of the Referral Bills, the States will be able to repeal their state laws in time for the commencement of the National Credit legislation on 1 July 2010.  This will put to an end to the state-based credit regime that had formally applied inconsistently across eight different jurisdictions.

Further information regarding the Reform Package is available at www.treasury.gov.au/consumercredit.

Further information regarding the role of ASIC and its consultations is available at www.asic.gov.au/credit.

9 February 2010