- This Treasury Laws Amendment (Australian Consumer Law Review) Bill 2018 (Cth) will soon enact the first suite of proposals from the Australian Consumer Law Review.
- Vulnerable consumers will benefit from amendments to unsolicited agreements, price transparency, guarantees for transportation and storage of goods and the addition of a power for the ACCC and ASIC to investigate unfair contract terms.
- Further legislative amendments and economy-wide studies are expected to follow.
On 1 January 2011, the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) sch. 2 (‘Australian Consumer Law’) (the ‘ACL’) commenced operation as Australia’s first nation-wide consumer protection law.
In June 2015, Ministers of consumer affairs agreed that Consumer Affairs Australia and New Zealand (‘CAANZ’) would conduct the first review of the ACL to consider whether the current law is operating as intended, and how successful it is at adapting to new issues.
A final report, published on 19 April 2017, identified a package of reforms to ‘strengthen and clarify the law, help consumers and traders better understand their rights and obligations, improve outcomes across Australian markets and help future-proof the ACL’ (Consumer Affairs Australia and New Zealand, Australian Consumer Law Review Final Report (March 2017) Commonwealth of Australia) (‘the Final Report’).
On 28 March 2018, the Treasury Laws Amendment (Australian Consumer Law Review) Bill 2018 (Cth) (‘the Bill’) was introduced to implement the first package of reforms recommended in the Final Report. The Bill was passed on 18 October 2018 and amends the ACL, the Australian Securities and Investments Act 2001 (Cth) (‘ASIC Act’) and the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) (the ‘CCA’).