Article - Bill to Enable Electronic Credit Transactions in Queensland (March 2006)
On 28 March 2006, the Consumer Credit and Trade Measurement Amendment Bill 2006 (Qld) (the Bill) was introduced in Queensland. The Bill would make several changes to the Consumer Credit (Queensland) Act 1994, which, under the Uniform Consumer Credit Laws Agreement 1993, would affect the Uniform Consumer Credit Code (UCCC), and thus the credit laws in each State.
The Bill is the latest incarnation of the Consumer Credit (Queensland) Amendment Bill and the Consumer Credit Amendment Regulation (No. 1) 2004, which were made available for public comment in July of 2004, along with an explanatory paper from Consumer Affairs Victoria.
Clause 8 of the Bill would insert into the UCCC a new section (164A) providing that any credit contract, mortgage or guarantee referred to in the UCCC could be made in accordance with the electronic transactions laws of the relevant jurisdiction. Through each state’s Electronic Transactions Act (ETA), electronic documents have the same legal status as their traditional counterparts, and the UCCC amendments would primarily serve to confirm this in the case of credit transactions. In Western Australia, South Australia and NSW, however, regulations currently exclude the UCCC from the effects of the ETA, and these exclusions would cease to operate under the UCCC amendments.
The public submissions to the draft Bill raised several issues. The use of electronic methods when entering into a mortgage was seen as problematic due to the complexity of mortgage agreements. However, this concern was rejected in the drafting of the Bill. A second concern regarding consent was raised, and as a result the draft Bill was amended (at clause 10), requiring that the consumer be informed of particular implications of the use of electronic communications, before giving specific consent to their use.
Additional consumer protection measures appear in the Bill, including a legibility requirement (at clause 6), and the possibility (in the inserted s 164A(3)) of excluding particular classes of transactions or information, so that these could not be handled electronically.
The Bill is available at: