Consumer Action Law Centre has released its second edition of Regulator Watch: The enforcement performance of Australia’s consumer protection regulators. In 2013, Consumer Action published the first edition of ‘Regulator Watch’, which was written in response to the absence of a public mechanism to compare the enforcement work being done by Australia’s various consumer protection regulators.
Since the 2013 Report was published, a great deal has happened in the regulatory landscape – including reviews of the effectiveness of the Australian Consumer Law, the Review of the Australian Communication and Media Authority and most recently the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.
It is therefore fitting for Consumer Action to once again compare the enforcement activities of key regulators, to assess how their performance has improved (or not) and to renew calls for greater enforcement activity and more consistent, accessible and transparent reporting.
The latest report found mixed results, with some regulators increasing their enforcement activities and reporting, while others dramatically reducing theirs.
The report has considered a range of data sources, but the core analysis is based on the public reporting of the regulators themselves. The report also draws on the views of consumer advocates surveyed by the Consumers’ Federation of Australia.
The report makes 11 recommendations. If implemented, these recommendations would increase the effectiveness of enforcement activities and result in more consistent and transparent reporting mechanisms.
Consumer Action intends for its second Regulator Watch report and recommendations to spark a discussion about where progress has been made, and what further work needs to be done to ensure consumers are protected from unscrupulous players in the market.