CONSUMER REVIEW BACKS-IN LABOR’S CALLS FOR PENALTIES REFORMS… NOW IT’S TIME FOR THE GOVERNMENT TO ACT!

TIM HAMMOND MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR CONSUMER AFFAIRS
SHADOW MINISTER ASSISTING FOR RESOURCES
FEDERAL MEMBER FOR PERTH

ANDREW LEIGH MP
SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER
SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMPETITION AND PRODUCTIVITY
SHADOW MINISTER FOR CHARITIES AND NOT-FOR-PROFITS
SHADOW MINISTER FOR TRADE IN SERVICES
MEMBER FOR FENNER

CONSUMER REVIEW BACKS-IN LABOR’S CALLS FOR PENALTIES REFORMS… NOW IT’S TIME FOR THE GOVERNMENT TO ACT!

Labor Shadow Minister for Consumer Affairs Tim Hammond MP and Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh MP today called on the Government to act on the recommendations of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) Review final report.

“The Australian Consumer Law Review has finally been released publicly. It’s now time for the Government to act and protect consumers,” said Tim Hammond MP.

“Importantly, the ACL Review has heeded Labor’s calls for increased penalties for anti-consumer conduct from $1.1 million to $10 million,” he said.

The ACL Review has made a number of other recommendations for reform to Australia’s consumer protections arrangements, including:

  • A general safety provision that places an obligation on traders to ensure the safety of a product before it enters the market;
  •  Strengthening the consumer guarantee so consumers no longer have to prove a ‘major defect’ when seeking remedies of refund or replacement within a specified period from sale; 
  • Making it easier for consumers (rather than the ACCC) to bring private actions against traders accused of breaching consumer law.

“Labor has been saying for a long time that consumer penalties are too weak and close consideration needs to be given to a general duty of safety within the law,” Mr Hammond said.

“Following on from last week’s Productivity Commission report into the Australian consumer protection regime, there is a clear agenda for reform in the national interest.

“So far we have just seen the Government dither and do-nothing. It’s time for meaningful reform.

“I will be consulting across the country with stakeholders, members of the public and states’ consumer affairs ministers about this Review, now that its contents are public,” Mr Hammond said.

Labor will not let the Government off the hook when it comes to strengthening consumer protections.

We will consider the entire Review carefully.

Only Labor is willing to act to protect consumers, and we will not allow the Government to continue to bury its head in the sand.

BACKGROUND:

  • The ACL Review was conducted by Consumer Affairs Australia and New Zealand, and its final report was provided to national and state Consumer Affairs ministers on 31 March 2017.
  • The Productivity Commission held a parallel inquiry into consumer law enforcement and administration, which was provided to the Government on 29 March 2017 and released publicly last week. That report is available here: http://www.pc.gov.au/inquiries/completed/consumer-law/report
  • Labor has been calling for reform to the penalties regime for breaches of consumers’ rights, following too many examples of anti-consumer conduct where the penalty meted out was a fraction of the benefit to the company for their conduct.
  • A copy of the ACL Review Final Report is available on their website, here: http://consumerlaw.gov.au/review-of-the-australian-consumer-law/final-report/