It’s on! Reform given green light

It’s on! Reform given green light
By admin

The Travel Compensation Fund will be wound up and travel agent licensing legislation repealed after consumer affairs ministers today gave the green light for industry reform.

But the refusal of two states – Western Australia and South Australia – to accept the recommendations could throw a spanner in the works.

Both states are "considering their position" following today's ministerial council on consumer affairs meeting in Sydney.

The council approved, by a majority, the Travel Industry Transition Plan (TITP) that will begin on July 1 next year with full implementation of a new structure in 2015.

"All jurisdictions will cooperate to achieve implementation of the plan and South Australia and Western Australia will consider their position in light of the national scheme no longer operating," a communiqué said.

Prudential supervision will end in mid 2013 followed by the repeal of travel agents' legislation by mid 2014.

There will be "reliance on the Australian Consumer Law" as well as "industry-led regulatory mechanisms and market based remedies such as credit card chargebacks to protect consumers".

It added that the TCF will be wound up with a "proportion of remaining reserve funds" dedicated to states and territories "who choose to adopt the TITP".

Cash will be spent on a "range of purposes" including the creation of an industry-led accreditation scheme.

The communique added: "In implementing the plan, governments and agencies will work with industry to ensure there is appropriate dislocloure of consumer risk in agency transactions and in developing commercial solutions to address business insolvency."

Jayson Westbury, chief executive of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA), described it as a "landmark decision" and a "major win for common sense".

"These are essential reforms to future proof the Australian travel industry while still ensuring appropriate consumer protection and a robust industry-led structure to underpin the professionalism desire by all stakeholders," he said.

"The transition plan has recognised the reality that the previous National TCF scheme has failed to keep pace with the rapid transformation of the way consumers shop for travel and the way our industry has changed."

He confirmed AFTA will hold talks with SA and WA to convince them of the need to participate.

Westbury said that while most of the TCF's $30 miilion reserves will be distributed to states and territories, grants will be provided to set up the accreditation scheme and a consumer advocate supporting the transitional arrangements.

"This is a big day for the travel industry," he said. "We have all been waiting patiently for this reform and if not for the courage and conviction of a few determined ministers, travel agents of Australia may have been left hanging.

"Sometimes our politicians get things right and today they have got things perfectly right."

Email the Travel Weekly team at

Latest News

  • Tour Operators
  • Travel Weekly TV

What sets Eclipse Travel apart with Africa expert Hilary Dubyk: Travel Weekly TV

Join Hilary and Nancy on the couch in the weeks episode and learn a little more about why Hilary loves ‘the Mother Continent’ so much and why she thinks the expedition cruise space is one of the most exciting to watch in 2024. Hilary is an absolute Africa specialist who has found a home in […]

  • Destinations
  • Tourism

Surge in Australians visiting Japan

The number of Australians visiting Japan in the first quarter of 2024 increased by 46.3% compared to the same period in 2019, new data released by Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) shows. Visitor numbers in March alone were up a staggering 87.4% compared to March 2019. “These figures are fantastic to see and confirm what […]

  • Cruise
  • Luxury
  • News

Seabourn announces Western Kimberley Traditional Owners as Godparents of Seabourn Pursuit

Seabourn has named Western Kimberley Traditional Owners, the Wunambal Gaambera, as Godparents of the ultra-luxury purpose-built Seabourn Pursuit. It is the first cruise line to appoint Traditional Owners as godparents of a ship. Seabourn Pursuit embarks on its inaugural season in the Kimberley region this June. The naming ceremony will take place on Seabourn Pursuit’s […]

  • Luxury

Malolo Island Resort opens brand new Spa

Fiji’s Malolo Island has added another string to its bow – opening its $1.3 million day spa on Thursday, 18th April 2024. (Lead Image: matriarch Rosie Whitton with spa staff) Located at the edge of the resort’s luscious patch of tropical rainforest, the new “Leilani’s Spa” adds another level of elevated experiences to Malolo’s already […]