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Repeal Of Travel Agents Act To Save Industry Millions

May 16, 2014 Corporate No Comments Email Email

Fair Trading Minister Matthew Mason-Cox has today welcomed the passage of the Travel Agents Repeal Bill 2013 which will remove outdated and significant red tape burden on industry.

Mr Mason-Cox said the regulatory scheme has been a costly administrative burden on the travel industry and one which is no longer necessary since the internet and e-commerce have transformed the way consumers purchase travel.

“The Travel Agents Act regulated the industry in the late 1980s when there was virtually no alternative but to pay for travel using a travel agent. It involved a licensing regime and a requirement to contribute to a compensation scheme, the Travel Compensation Fund.

“Since payments are now frequently made to travel providers and through credit cards, the Travel Compensation Fund and licensing have become redundant with protections under the Australian Consumer Law being far more relevant to consumer travel purchases now and into the future.”

The travel agents legislation is due to be repealed nationally by 30 June 2014 and is part of an approved Travel Industry Transition Plan commencing with removal of the requirement to lodge Annual Financial Returns to the Travel Compensation Fund from 1 July 2013.

Mr Mason-Cox said the repeal of the States’ Travel Agents legislation is an important step towards the NSW Government’s commitment to cutting red tape and making it more competitive to do “It is estimated that close to 40 per cent of travel agents and 47 per cent of industry revenue comes from NSW, making the travel industry reforms particularly important for the State,” he said.

“The financial burden on Australian business has been between $19 million and $25 million, which is mainly attributable to the Travel Compensation requirements and that means our reforms will deliver real savings to business.”

Voluntary industry accreditation commences in mid-2014 and closure of the Travel Compensation Fund and final payment of any consumer claims will occur by mid to late 2015.

The transition plan replaces redundant institutions and approaches in favour of market-based mechanisms which accommodate the realities of modern consumer approaches to booking travel.

The transition plan will also ensure remaining funds are channelled into stakeholder communication and education, one-off grants for consumer research and advocacy, and the establishment of an industry-led accreditation scheme.

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