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Minister directs ACCC to help small business



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The Hon. Warren Truss, MR Minister for Customs and Consumer Affairs Deputy Leader of the House

ME D I A RE L E AS E

7 September 1998 323/98

MINISTER DIRECTS ACCC TO HELP SMALL BUSINESS

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has been directed by the Minister for Customs and Consumer Affairs, Warren Truss, to establish a body o f law to protect small businesses from unconscionable conduct in business transactions.

The ACCC has received additional funding of $480,000 each year for four years from the Federal Government to take action against unfair conduct on behalf of small businesses.

On 1 July this year, an amendment to the Trade Practices Act came into force which prohibits a corporation in trade or commerce from engaging in unconscionable conduct in business transactions.

The amendment sets out an inclusive list o f circumstances to which a court may have consideration when deciding whether a corporation has engaged in unconscionable conduct.

There is currently little legal precedent on unconscionable conduct in business transactions. The ACCC has been directed to initiate legal proceedings to establish a body o f law in that area.

The ACCC will take test cases on small business issues to the courts, giving priority to actions which seek recompense for small business.

The ACCC will report to Minister Truss each quarter on small business allegations of contraventions of the Act, including allegations of unconscionable conduct in business transactions.

The provision is limited to commercial transactions o f less than $1 million and the protection will not be available to publicly listed companies.

Contact: CMR1274

Andrew Hall — Media Adviser — 02 62 7 7 7 7 9 0 04 1 9 996 766

Email: ahall@dist.gov.au W ebsites: w w w .d is t.g o v .a u w w w .c u s to m s .g o v .a u