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Annual Report 2008-09 Output 1.8

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Personal property securities

Summary

The Department undertook an extensive program of work this year to progress Output 1.8 by developing the Personal Property Securities Bill 2009 and associated discussion paper on regulations to be made under the Bill. The work included extensive consultations on personal property securities reform with private sector and State and Territory Government stakeholders. The Department negotiated an intergovernmental agreement on personal property securities reform, which COAG agreed to on 2 October 2008. This agreement represents a commitment by all Australian governments to implement a national personal property securities system.

The Department engaged a systems integrator to begin designing and building the new personal property securities register in November 2008.

Following a Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee report on the Personal Property Securities Bill, a final version was prepared and settled with the States and Territories. On 17 June 2009 New South Wales became the first State to refer legislative power relating to personal property securities to the Commonwealth. The Personal Property Securities Bill 2009 was introduced into the Commonwealth Parliament on 24 June 2009.

Major achievements

Introduction of the Personal Property Securities Bill into Parliament

The Attorney-General introduced the Personal Property Securities Bill into Parliament on 24 June 2009. The Bill will harmonise the current complex arrangements that apply to secured finance transactions. The Bill provides for a personal property securities register to be established and maintained by a registrar of personal property securities. The register will provide notice of registered security interests to parties interested in purchasing or lending against personal property. The register will be accessible, inexpensive and easy to search. The new arrangements will apply throughout Australia. They will be less complex than the existing arrangements and will lower transaction and compliance costs for all parties involved in personal property securities transactions.

Consultation on Personal Property Securities Bill and regulations

The Department continued its extensive stakeholder consultations during 2008–09. A discussion paper on the regulations to be made under the Personal Property Securities Bill was released in August 2008. In November 2008 an exposure draft of the Bill and an accompanying commentary were released. The exposure draft reflected the results of earlier consultations and was referred to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee for inquiry and report. The Committee tabled its report on 19 March 2009 and the Government’s formal response was tabled on 18 June 2009.

Personal property securities intergovernmental agreement

On 2 October 2008, COAG signed an intergovernmental agreement on personal property securities reform. The agreement sets out the working arrangements between the Australian and State and Territory Governments for the new national personal property securities system. The agreement also records the States’ agreement to refer constitutional power to the Commonwealth Parliament to ensure the national personal property securities legislation has comprehensive application throughout Australia.

Referral of constitutional power from the States

The Department worked with the States, through the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General, to develop model legislation to refer constitutional power to the Commonwealth Parliament to enable it to enact the Personal Property Securities Bill. The model legislation was settled in May 2009. On 17 June 2009 the New South Wales Parliament passed referral legislation based on the model.

Design of Personal Property Securities Register

In October 2008, KAZ Group Limited was appointed as the systems integrator for the Personal Property Securities Register. Detailed design work for the register began in November 2008. The Personal Property Securities Register will be a central element of the reform, allowing real-time access to information about security interests.

Release of request for tender for call centre

A request for tender for provision of call centre services to support the Personal Property Securities Register was released on 19 December 2008. Tender evaluations were ongoing at 30 June 2009.

Outlook

In 2009–10, the Department will support passage of the Personal Property Securities Bill through Parliament, referral of constitutional power by the remaining States, and development of consequential legislation by the State, Territory and Australian Governments.

A key focus will be designing and building the new Personal Property Securities Register. We will continue to work with the systems integrator and a range of stakeholders to ensure delivery of a technologically advanced, widely available, accessible and user-friendly register.

The Department will also increase its work on stakeholder education and change management to help businesses and consumers prepare for the new personal property securities system.

Performance indicators

Table 12: Performance indicators, Output 1.8—Personal property securities

Key performance indicators 2008–09 target Result

Delivery of high-quality legal policy advice on personal property securities to the Attorney-General

Prepare the Personal Property Securities Bill for introduction into Parliament

Achieved

The Personal Property Securities Bill was introduced into Parliament on 24 June 2009.

Prepare personal property securities regulations for tabling in Parliament

Partially achieved

Public consultation on the proposed regulations has been conducted.

Negotiate signature of an intergovernmental agreement on personal property securities reform

Achieved

COAG agreed to an intergovernmental agreement on personal property securities reform on 2 October 2008.

Development of an efficient electronic register for personal property securities

Procure a systems integrator to design and build an electronic personal property securities register

Achieved

A systems integrator was appointed in November 2008.

Procure a contact centre provider

Partially achieved

Tender evaluations were ongoing at 30 June 2009.

Provision of high-quality information about personal property securities reform to stakeholders

Conduct 12 meetings with key stakeholder groups

Achieved

Extensive consultation with a range of stakeholder groups was conducted.

Prepare 12 updates of the personal property securities reform web pages

Achieved

The personal property securities reform web pages are regularly reviewed and updated.

Publish four personal property securities reform newsletters

Achieved

Four editions of the personal property securities reform newsletter were produced to 30 June 2009.

 

Administered items Results

Personal property securities—public awareness campaign

Partially achieved

Initial developmental market research to inform the public awareness campaign was underway at 30 June 2009, pending a COAG decision as to appropriate commencement date for proposed new personal property securities system.

Budget price: $0.075 million

Actual price: $0.075 million


Our people

Establishing a National Emergency Warning Capability

Jessica Nagajek, Michelle Loveday, and Diane Podlich, Emergency Management Policy Branch, National Security Resilience Policy Division

Jessica Nagajek, Michelle Loveday, and Diane
Podlich, Emergency Management Policy Branch,
National Security Resilience Policy Division
.

Helping to save lives and property makes this job rewarding

After the February 2009 bushfires in Victoria, the Attorney-General moved to rapidly enable the States and Territories to build a national telephone-based emergency warning system. Luckily Diane Podlich’s team was already working on solving the many technical and legal obstacles to such a system.

‘Establishing a national automated telephone-based system for distributing all-hazard warnings is an important priority for the Council of Australian Governments,’ Diane said.

While States and Territories already use a range of mechanisms to warn communities about emergencies, development of the National Emergency Warning System will add the ability to send automated telephone-based warnings that are not reliant on the community opting-in. This will enhance the current capability and use common technology to provide targeted warnings. Such warnings are particularly effective for rapid onset events, such as tsunami, flood, severe storm, bushfire, urban fire, siege, landslip and release of hazardous material.

Project stakeholders included the Department of Broadband Communications and the Digital Economy, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Australian Communications and Media Authority and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, as well as all States and Territories.

The key task for Diane and her team was to solve the problem of how to provide the right telephone numbers for a community under threat.

‘The Department has entered into a contract to build and operate a secure, central, geo-coded database of telephone numbers—the Location Based Number Store. The National Emergency Warning System will use this database to send geographically targeted warnings to fixed-line and mobile telephones based on billing address,’ Diane explained.

‘Leading a small team responsible for resolving policy, technical and financial issues under extreme time pressures and within a climate of intense public scrutiny (given the hearings of the Victoria Bushfire Royal Commission) has been challenging.’

‘However, knowing we are developing a capability that will help save lives and property makes this job rewarding,’ Diane said.

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