(1) What action has the Government taken to provide stronger regulation of the travel industry since the November 2021 announcement?
(2) What assessment has the Government made of the CHOICE recommendations for:
(a) Easier travel refunds?
(b) Minimum voucher/credit rights?
(c) A mandatory industry code for all airlines and large travel providers?
(d) A travel and tourism industry ombudsman?
(e) A mandatory information standard at time of booking?
(3) What advocacy has the Government carried out for a national response including an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission market study into travel and tourism?
(4) What further action will the Government take to better protect travel consumers?
(1) In November 2021, the NSW Government launched the ‘Look Before You Book’ travel awareness campaign to coincide with the reopening of travel in NSW and the summer holidays.
In December 2021, the NSW Government undertook targeted consultation with the travel industry to receive preliminary feedback on a possible information standard for the NSW travel sector.
(2a) Recommendation 1 of the CHOICE Report (Make it easier to get a refund) requires consideration within the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) framework.
(b) Recommendation 2 (Make travel credits and vouchers fairer) similarly requires consideration within the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) framework.
(c) Recommendation 3 (Lift standards of customer service) is specifically directed at a national level, and is appropriate for the Federal Government to address.
(d) Recommendation 4 (Make it easier to get disputes heard and resolved) is specifically directed at a national level, and is appropriate for the Federal Government to address.
(e) The NSW Government is reviewing the provision of information disclosed to customers at the time of booking and consulting with travel and consumer industry stakeholders on future reform.
(3) NSW Fair Trading continues to be an active participant in national reforms and inter-jurisdictional working groups, and works with the Commonwealth, States and Territories to carry out Australian Consumer Law projects and other activities that support and protect consumers and small businesses.
(4) The NSW Government has already taken action to address recommendation 7 of the CHOICE Report (establish a website for information on restrictions). Information on the travel related restrictions can be accessed on the NSW Government website - https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/travel-restrictions
The NSW Government will continue to assess the situation and consider whether there is a need to provide any supports or protections further to those under the Australian Consumer Law and the Fair Trading Act.