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On-line directory for consumers

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Minister for Customs and Consumer Affairs Deputy Leader of the House

The Hon. Warren Truss, MP

Friday, 31 July 1998 268/98


Federal Consumer Affairs Minister Warren Truss has today announced that an on-line directory giving internet users access to consumer complaint and resolution agencies will be launched soon.

Speaking at the Ministerial Council on Consumer Affairs meeting in Wellington, New Zealand, Mr Truss said the directory is expected to be online from next week and has been developed as a joint project by Australian and New Zealand Ministers for Consumer Affairs.

“Australia and New Zealand are at the forefront of consumer protection in electronic commerce,” Mr Truss said.

“The on-line directory is a significant achievement in safeguarding the interests of consumers in the transition to the electronic environment. The project is a further example of how Australia and New Zealand are leading the world in research and policy to protect consumers in the move to electronic commerce.

“The directory will give consumers and businesses immediate internet access to information and contact details about consumer redress mechanisms. These include industry-based customer dispute resolution mechanisms and government and consumer bodies handling consumer complaints.

“Hypertext links to consumer complaint handling bodies are a key feature of the directory. Once an Australian consumer has located the appropriate agency a ‘double-click’ on the link will transfer the user to the Internet homepage of the selected agency.

“The next step in establishing a consumer protection framework for the electronic environment will be a single online complaints entry point for all Australian and New Zealand enforcement agencies. I am pursuing this matter with my State and Territory and New Zealand counterparts as an important consumer protection priority.”

The Ministers have asked the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to develop a model for an on-line consumer complaints gateway, and have endorsed principles for preventing overlap between enforcement agencies drafted by their Fair Trading Officers Advisory Committee.

“The final step will be to educate consumers to use electronic commerce wisely,” Mr Truss said. “Further consumer information and education materials for publication on the Internet will be developed over the next year.

“The Federal Coalition Government has demonstrated a strong commitment to ensuring that Australian consumers can function effectively in the electronic environment. I am proud that Australia and New Zealand are leading the way in consumer protection in electronic commerce.”

The consumer on-line directory is at or

Contact: Ref: CMR1235

Andrew Hall — Media Adviser — 02 6277 7790 0419 996 766 Email: Websites: