Consumer law updates see ACCC with renewed power

Inside Franchise Business: franchisee faces court for alleged underpayments
Inside Franchise Business: franchisee faces court for alleged underpayments

Australian retailers will face new market conditions under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL), with the Treasury Laws Amendment (Australian Consumer Law Review) passing the Senate last week.

The new legislation will bring changes to pricing regulations regarding fees and chards, product safety provisions, and the extension of consumer guarantees, in addition to bolstering both the ACCC and ASIC’s powers to protect consumers.

Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg said the updated laws were part of a series of measures put forward by the government to ensure the Australian Consumer Law operates as intended

“The new laws are designed to ensure the Australian Consumer Law delivers effective protection for consumers, while equipping regulators with the tools and teeth they need to address consumer harm,” Frydenberg said in a statement.

In addition to the focus on consumer protection, small business was also boosted by the review, which Australian Retailers Association executive director, Russell Zimmerman suggested will have wide-spread positive implications.

“The positive developments coming out of yesterday’s onslaught of economic developments include the passage of the Lower Taxes for Small and Medium Businesses Bill 2018, which will mean small retailers will receive a lower tax rate five years earlier than expected,” Zimmerman said.

“Previously, all businesses with annual turnover of $50 million or less could expect to see their corporate tax rate slowly decrease over 10 years.”

The latest commitment from the federal government follows on from statements made by Prime Minister Scott Morrison earlier this month to ease pressure on retailers, and provide investment certainty.