Treasurer, the Hon Scott Morrison and the Minister for Small Business and Assistant Treasurer, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer today released the terms of reference for a Productivity Commission study into the enforcement and administration arrangements underpinning the Australian Consumer Law.
The study will focus on the effectiveness of the ‘single-law, multiple regulator’ model – a model where the national consumer law is jointly enforced and administered by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and state and territory consumer agencies, with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) enforcing similar consumer protections under the ASIC Act for financial products and services.
The study will make findings on how this model could be strengthened and will assess the complementary roles of Australian Consumer Law regulators. It will examine the interaction of specialist regulatory regimes such as food safety, therapeutic goods and electricity and natural gas regimes with Australian Consumer Law regulators.
It will also report on other regulatory models including approaches to consumer protection overseas.
The study will be important in identifying ways to improve the administration and enforcement of Australia’s national consumer law and ensure that the framework provides the best outcomes for both Australian consumers and businesses.
The Productivity Commission is well placed to undertake the review.
The recommendations it made in the ‘Review of Australia’s Consumer Policy Framework’ in 2008 formed the basis for the Australian Consumer Law.
The Productivity Commission will consult broadly with Commonwealth and state and territory governments, the business community and consumer representatives in developing its findings.
The Productivity Commission is due to report back to the Government by March 2017. The study’s terms of reference are available on the Productivity Commission website.
The study will complement the review being undertaken in parallel by consumer agencies through Consumer Affairs Australia and New Zealand that will consider the effectiveness of the provisions of the Australian Consumer Law, whether these provisions are operating as intended and how to ensure that they remain relevant into the future.