8 May 2016
Media Release - #2016068, 2016

In the role of: Minister for Small Business and Assistant Treasurer [21 September 2015 - 18 July 2016]

Australian Consumer Law positive for consumers and businesses

Minister for Small Business and Assistant Treasurer, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP has welcomed the release of the results of the second Australian Consumer Survey.

“It is encouraging to see the findings point to positive improvements in consumer and business awareness and experiences since the introduction of the Australian Consumer Law,” Minister O’Dwyer said.

“The results show consumer and business understanding of the law remains high, and that this is being supported by the efforts of government through the provision of information and advice.

“Consumers feel more empowered to take action to resolve disputes with businesses, and the vast majority of problems that are resolved are done so directly between consumers and businesses.

“Consumers also see more rigorous enforcement of the law by regulators, with the majority believing that businesses that treat consumers unfairly are being detected and penalised. In return, the reported incidence of problems between consumers and business has fallen.

“The majority of businesses believe the introduction of the Australian Consumer Law has had a positive impact on their understanding of their obligations and responsibilities and that governments are providing adequate access to dispute resolution services.

“Importantly, the survey found that the annual cost to business of complying with the law is down by $3.53 billion since 2011,” Minister O’Dwyer said.

The Australian Consumer Survey was introduced as part of the implementation of the Australian Consumer Law. The first survey was conducted in 2010-11, shortly before the law came into effect and this second survey has been conducted to assess its impact.

Over 5000 consumers and 1200 businesses were surveyed across Australia and its findings will provide an important input into the Australian Consumer Law Review.

Another project supporting the Australian Consumer Law Review, an analysis of overseas consumer policy frameworks, has also been released. The study identifies consumer policy approaches in a range of comparable countries in areas such as unfair trading, e-commerce, and access to justice.

The findings of these projects will help identify potential areas to strengthen Australia’s consumer policy framework to improve outcomes for consumers and business. Their reports are available on the Australian Consumer Law website.