From July 2024 select advocacy groups for consumers and small business will be able to lodge complaints with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) – and the ACCC will be obligated to respond.
From the website of Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury, Andrew Leigh MP:
As part of the Albanese Government’s Better Competition election commitment, consumer and small business advocates will be empowered to raise systemic complaints within the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) from July 2024.
Currently there is no formal mechanism for consumer or small business advocacy groups to lodge complaints, to which the ACCC is obligated to respond.
The Designated Complaints function will enable consumer and small business advocacy groups to submit a complaint to the ACCC where they have strong evidence of systemic market issues under the consumer law.
The consumer and small business advocacy groups empowered to lodge such complaints will be nominated by the responsible minister. The government will release further details on this initiative in the coming months.
A similar mechanism has operated in the United Kingdom since 2012.
Quotes attributable to the Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury Andrew Leigh:
“Many markets are heavily concentrated, and in recent years some of the biggest names in Australian business have been found to have engaged in anti-competitive and anti-consumer conduct. We know that often consumers and small businesses struggle to get their voices heard when big businesses are doing the wrong thing.
Under the Albanese Government, selected peak consumer and small business groups will be empowered to make complaints to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission that the ACCC must publicly respond to. This might involve issues such as energy pricing, credit card surcharges, misleading labelling or unfair terms in small business contracts.”