Welcome to the November edition of the Smart Business Bulletin, linking Queensland businesses with fair trading information and tips.
Message from the Minister
It is a tragic fact that furniture and appliance related injuries to children under five years of age account for an estimated 180 emergency presentations in Queensland hospitals each year.
Most of these injuries occur when children push or pull items over, climb and fall off furniture, or climb and tip furniture and appliances over.
The Office of Fair Trading is currently conducting a campaign that includes a safety DVD for parents and carers, and free swing tags for furniture suppliers to warn parents that particular products may need to be anchored to a wall or floor to ensure they won´t topple if climbed on.
I urge all furniture manufacturers and suppliers to take up the offer of the free swing tags, and join the Office of Fair Trading´s efforts to protect Queensland children from these types of injuries.
The Honourable Peter Lawlor MP
Minister for Tourism and Fair Trading
Member for Southport
What's in the news?
New manufactured homes law passed
Changes to the Manufactured Homes (Residential Parks) Act 2003 were passed by Parliament in late October, providing increased consumer protection to residents of manufactured homes.
If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is!
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is warning people to be scam smart with the OFT receiving more than 2000 complaints about scams already this year.
OFT supports National Kidsafe Day
The hidden dangers of window blind cords were highlighted during National Kidsafe Day on 26 October 2010.
Schoolies accommodation tips
With Schoolies fast approaching, hotel and resort managers are reminded Schoolies must not be treated differently to regular guests. Make sure house rules are fair and reasonable. We have developed simple guidelines to assist in dealing with Schoolies accommodation.
False billing, directory and advertising scams
These scams target small businesses by trying to bill you for a listing or advertisement in a magazine, journal or business register/directory. The scam might come as a proposal for a subscription disguised as an invoice for an entry in a bogus international fax, telex or trade directory. Sometimes they are doctored to look like those used by genuine directory publishers. Detailed information about how to protect your business from false billing, directory and advertising scams is available from the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission´s SCAMwatch website.
Changes to real estate laws
Amendments to the Property Agents and Motor Dealers Act 2000 (PAMDA) have simplified and streamlined the residential real estate contract process in Queensland. The amendments came into effect on 1 October 2010.
Agents must still attach the Warning Statement to any residential property contract, but the documents no longer have to be in a specific order. The PAMD form 30c - Warning Statement has been redesigned and previous versions of the form were revoked on and from 1 October 2010.
Fair Trading and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2011
Community consultation on the Fair Trading and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2011 has now commenced. The Bill proposes to make changes to the following Acts:
- Associations Incorporation Act 1981
- Collections Act 1966
- Credit (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2010
- Land Sales Act 1984
- Liquor Act 1992
- Residential Services (Accreditation) Act 2002
- Retirement Villages Act 1999
The amendments are intended to contribute to the Queensland Government´s goals of building a more competitive economy, reducing bureaucracy, and creating an environment for business success while also providing a fair and safe marketplace for consumers.
Australian Consumer Law
On 1 January 2011, Australian Governments will introduce a single, national consumer protection and fair trading law - the Australian Consumer Law (ACL). The new law will apply to all sectors of the economy and to all Australian consumers and businesses.
The ACL is a reform of the Australian Government and the States and Territories, achieved through the cooperative efforts of the Ministerial Council on Consumer Affairs.
As a result of this significant piece of consumer law reform, the Trade Practices Act 1974 will be amended and renamed the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. The Fair Trading Act 1989 will also be amended to apply the ACL as a law in Queensland. A national product safety regime is also being introduced as part of the ACL.
Read more about the Australian Consumer Law or register to view an online information session (webinar) for business. The webinar gives you an introduction to the law, and the opportunity to hear questions answered at the live seminar held in Melbourne in October 2010. You can also download the presentation in a PowerPoint slide format.
National personal property securities register
The Personal Property Securities Register will replace all existing Commonwealth, State and Territory registers, such as the Register of Encumbered Vehicles Search (REVS), the various Bills of Sale Registers and the Register of Cooperative and Company Charges. The new register will record securities over all forms of personal property, not just vehicles and boats as with REVS. Visit the Australian Government Attorney-General´s Department Personal Property Securities reform website for more information.
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Last reviewed 15/11/2010