In 2008, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to a two phase implementation plan (set out in the National Credit Law Agreement 2009) for the transfer of responsibility for the regulation of credit to the Commonwealth from the States and Territories. Phase One changes commenced from 1 July 2010.
Prior to the introduction of the national credit law regime, the States and Territories regulated credit and consumer lending through the Uniform Consumer Credit Code (UCCC), with some states imposing additional requirements where there was no UCCC coverage.
The national regime has established a consistent and robust legislative framework. It gives consumers greater confidence and better outcomes when using credit products, and addresses practices that could affect the stability of the industry, particularly the systematic provision of credit to consumers who cannot afford to meet the repayments.
Phase One of the reforms began with the commencement of the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2010 (Credit Act) on 1 July 2010. The main features of Phase One include:
- a comprehensive licensing regime for all providers of consumer credit, including brokers and intermediaries;
- responsible lending conduct requirements on all licensees so that they do not provide credit products and services that are unsuitable, either because they do not meet the consumers' requirements or because the consumer does not have capacity to meet the repayments;
- expanded redress for consumer protection through universal external dispute resolution membership for licensees, streamlined court arrangements, and remedies for consumers for licensee misconduct;
- improved sanctions and enforcement powers for the national regulator, ASIC; and
- a largely replicated version of the UCCC as the National Credit Code.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is the regulator of consumer credit in Australia.
ASIC can be contacted via:
Phone: 1300 300 630 (cost of a local call)