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Wednesday, 29 May 2013
Page: 4244

Mr BRADBURY (LindsayAssistant Treasurer and Minister Assisting for Deregulation) (10:55):

I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

This bill will amend the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 to enable regulations to be made to provide exemptions from the single pricing requirements in the Australian Consumer Law.

The purpose of these amendments is to allow an exemption to be made for restaurant and cafe menu surcharges on specific days.

The bill acts on a 2010 Productivity Commission recommendation to reduce the regulatory burden for small businesses in the restaurant sector.

Restaurants and cafes are an important part of the Australian economy. As submissions on the draft bill noted, there are around 38,000 restaurants and cafes in Australia, generating more than $29 billion per annum. It is important that these businesses are not subject to any unnecessary regulatory burden.

The single pricing requirements in the Australian Consumer Law prohibit businesses from stating a price that is only part of the cost, unless they also prominently advertise the single price for the good or service.

The exemption will ensure that restaurants and cafes no longer need to provide a separate menu for days when they choose to apply a surcharge, such as on public holidays and weekends.

The government is mindful of the need to ensure price transparency for consumers while also minimising compliance costs for small business.

The amendments will achieve a reduction in the regulatory burden for small business while still ensuring that consumers have protection and clarity when ordering from restaurant and cafe menus.

The positive impact of these amendments will be significant for small business and will enable many venues that are open on weekends and public holidays to continue to provide valuable service to consumers in major cities and regional areas.

I commend the bill to the House.

Debate adjourned.