Australian agents will not be required to have a licence or take out consumer protection insurance within the next 18 months. A majority of Consumer Affairs Ministers from each of the state governments has decided the industry can self-regulate and will phase out the Travel Compensation Fund, which required all travel agents to be audited each year in addition to paying TCF fees.
The campaign for self-regulation was led by the Australian Federation of Travel Agents but there has been strong opposition, and it appears that Western Australia and South Australia may start their own schemes.
According to Travel Daily, the Travel Industry Transition Plan “provides for a staged phasing out of the existing National Scheme, commencing with the proposed cessation of prudential supervision in mid-2013, followed by the repeal of travel agents’ legislation by mid-2014.
“The Travel Compensation Fund will be wound up, with a proportion of the remaining reserve funds to be used for a range of purposes including stakeholder communication and education initiatives; a one-off grant for consumer research and advocacy purposes; a grant to fund development of an industry-led accreditation scheme by a national working party of government, industry and consumer representatives; and paying any transitional compensation claims.”