07/05/2014 - 13:56

WA travel industry to be deregulated

07/05/2014 - 13:56

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Western Australia’s travel agents are set to be released from extra regulatory burdens, levelling the playing field between them and competing international agencies.

The deregulation of the travel industry will allow WA-based travel agencies to compete in an international travel market.

Western Australia’s travel agents are set to be released from extra regulatory burdens, levelling the playing field between them and competing international agencies.

Legislation to deregulate the state’s travel industry, in line with a national strategy, was introduced today in state parliament.

The change will remove the need for WA’s 330 travel agents to be licensed and also abolishes a Travel Compensation Fund, originally set up in 1986 to protect consumers’ rights.

Australian Federation of Travel Agents chief executive Jayson Westbury said the nationwide strategy, when implemented in July, would allow Australian travel agencies to better compete in a global market.

“Collectively the states have seen it as a modern reform,” he said.

“From an Australian business point of view they will no longer have the burden of all that government-based regulation, and that’s a big outcome for business.

“That allows them to compete in a very global marketplace with non-Australian domiciled businesses ... which were not required to have the red tape burden that they had before.”

In place of mandatory regulation, AFTA has created a voluntary industry based accreditation scheme for travel agents.

Commerce Minister Michael Mischin said the state had not originally supported total deregulation, but was compelled to fall in line with the other states and territories.

“The industry successfully argued that regulation costs made Australian agents less competitive in today’s international travel market given the accessibility that the internet provides,” he said.

Mr Mischin said Australian Consumer Law would continue to uphold consumers’ rights following the phasing out of the TCF by the end of 2015.

Mr Westbury said removing the TCF was not likely to cause any consumer rights issues in WA.

 “WA has the lowest claims record in the country, it’s very, very small and so therefore we don’t believe the consumers are going to be disadvantaged in any way shape or form,” he said.

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