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Connexus : Issue 40
reforms cannot begin until an industry code of conduct has been developed and approved by the Information Commissioner. This is not expected to happen before September next year. The Commissioner may develop a code that industry will have to adhere to, if industry groups fail to develop their own. Abacus is involved in industry forums working on a draft code. The code will apply to all industry credit reporting participants, including telecommunications companies, authorised deposit-taking institutions and credit reporting agencies. It will include specifc rules for clients’ personal information, data accuracy and complaint handling. Some industry groups are pushing for a high level of prescription in the code about obligations relating to the exchange of data between credit providers and credit reporting agencies. Given that industry will be required by law to comply with the code, Abacus will continue to argue that detailed commercial arrangements are more appropriately included in agreements, or contracts between the parties, rather than in the code. Sue Peacock is a freelance writer. Talks on new reporting code Changes to credit reporting are on the way but there's plenty to be done first. BY SUE PEACOCK Reforms to Australia's negative credit reporting regime have been included in a Bill amending privacy laws, introduced into parliament in May. Abacus and other industry representatives met with Attor ney- General Nicola Roxon on the day the Bill was introduced to discuss the legislation and its likely path through parliament. Under the changes, credit providers and credit reporting agencies will be able to exchange fve new data sets, including the date a credit account was opened, the type of account opened, the credit limit, the date it was closed and two years worth of repayment performance history in order to assess a customer's credit worthiness -- potentially reducing bad debts. The use of credit data will be reciprocal with credit providers able to access the same level of credit data that they supply to credit reporting agencies. The Bill will also amend the Privacy Act (1988) to create a single set of privacy principles, introduce new provisions on privacy codes and the credit reporting code and clarify the functions and powers of the Information Commissioner. In general, Abacus supports the enhanced credit reporting provisions but reser ves the right to lobby for changes as it works through the detail of the proposed laws. It won't be mandatory for credit providers to participate in the new credit reporting system. But those that choose to participate must comply with the Privacy Act, regulations and the approved credit reporting code of conduct. The comprehensive credit reporting In general, Abacus supports the enhanced credit reporting provisions but reserves the right to lobby for changes. Resources www.creditcodeindependentreview. com.au www.arca.net.au NEWS 16 Connexus