PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION BACKS IN LABOR’S CALLS FOR INCREASED PENALTIES FOR ANTI-CONSUMER CONDUCT

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

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

PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION BACKS IN LABOR’S CALLS FOR INCREASED PENALTIES FOR ANTI-CONSUMER CONDUCT

The Productivity Commission has today added its voice in support of Labor’s plan to increase penalties for businesses engaging in anti-consumer conduct under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

The Commission’s report, Consumer Law Enforcement and Administration, found that

“Maximum financial penalties available under the ACL are small relative to the benefits that a business can accrue by breaching the ACL.” (Finding 4.5).

“There are a growing number of voices supporting Labor’s policy of a significant increase in maximum penalties under the ACL,” Mr Hammond said.

“There have been too many examples of companies getting a slap-on-the-wrist fine following a breach that profited them significantly, at the expense of consumers."

“The most high profile recent example is Nurofen, which made around $45 million by making misleading representations about some of their products. They were only fined $6 million.” he said.

“We need to increase the maximum penalty for a breach of the ACL from $1.1 million to $10 million, to bring it in line with penalties for anti-competitive conduct,” Dr Leigh said.

“We cannot continue with a system where the penalties of anti-consumer conduct are disregarded as just another cost of doing business.”

The Productivity Commission’s report is available here: http://www.pc.gov.au/inquiries/completed/consumer-law/report