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Thursday, 24 March 2011
Page: 3358

Mr BILLSON (9:32 AM) —I rise today to speak in support of Ron Sinclair, a constituent of mine, who has had an awful ordeal dealing with a camper mobile home vehicle that he purchased. It proved not to be the vehicle that the Commonwealth said it was when it allowed the importation of the vehicle—that is, not roadworthy, as it was claimed to be, and not able to be registered although it was actually registered with VicRoads. Ron has gone through an extraordinary ordeal at great personal emotional cost and financial expense, only to find that a so-called 1993 Chevrolet K2500 was not in fact the vehicle that matched the compliance plate that accompanied the vehicle. The vehicle is overweight and cannot be used on Australian roads, despite it having gone through an extensive process under the Commonwealth’s used low volume scheme that is administered federally by the department of transport—an issue that I have raised with Minister Albanese.

We are looking here for an outcome that is fair and just to Mr Sinclair. He has been able to—through successive actions, through administrative tribunals and legal avenues—have funds refunded to him for the purchase price of that vehicle but he has not been able to get his costs back. He has not been able to get his costs back because the administrative tribunal in Victoria will not allocate costs unless there have been some legal proceedings to prosecute people who have been found to have broken the law. This is a classic case of the Commonwealth and state governments failing to do their jobs, where the expense of seeking justice has rested very heavily with Mr Sinclair, and now that he has been found to be correct in each and every circumstance of the claims and the maladministration that has bemoaned this entire process, he is still tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket.

It is not adequate for the Commonwealth to simply wash its hands and say that there are processes in place. The reality and the simple fact is that certain documentation certificates that were accepted by the Commonwealth—where the processes were commenced to allow this vehicle to come into Australia and be sold to Mr Sinclair—were not properly handled. Information was not joined up with parties who were supposed to have overseen the standards of these vehicles to make sure that they complied with our design rules. It is not good enough for VicRoads in Victoria to say, ‘It was the Commonwealth—it was the feds.’ They are supposed to make sure all these vehicles meet design requirements before they come into Australia. Therefore, the state government and the Commonwealth are each saying ‘It wasn’t us.’ They should have done something to protect Mr Sinclair.

The bottom line is that Mr Sinclair has been hung out to dry. He is left out of pocket for tens of thousands of dollars. His hopes of using his campervan to tour the country have simply led him being taken for a ride and to travel through all of these court jurisdictions. I call on the Commonwealth to make an ex gratia claim for defective administration for exposing Mr Sinclair to this cost. He should not be out of pocket for doing the right thing. (Time expired)