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New national law to protect consumers and cut business red tape



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Media Release of 03/12/2010 NO.011

NEW NATIONAL LAW TO PROTECT CONSUMERS AND CUT BUSINESS RED TAPE

A significant milestone in the development of a harmonised, national consumer law was achieved today as Commonwealth, State and Territory Consumer Affairs Ministers officially launched the new Australian Consumer Law (ACL), said the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, the Hon. David Bradbury.

The ACL replaces 20 Commonwealth, State and Territory consumer protection and fair trading laws and will be Australia's first national consumer law.

"The ACL represents one of the most significant reforms in the history of Australian consumer protection. It will reduce the cost of doing business and will provide consumers with greater protection by simplifying and harmonising fair trading laws across the nation," said Mr Bradbury.

"The ACL covers a comprehensive range of consumer protections including product safety, consumer guarantees, rules governing lay-by agreements and door-to-door selling, and unfair contract terms in standard consumer agreements such as banking contracts and mobile phone plans.

"These reforms create a single national product safety system so that strong action can be taken against those who put the safety of consumers at risk, regardless of State and Territory boundaries.

"From New Year's Day - in time for the January sales - every consumer will have legal minimum guarantees on the goods and services they buy. Where these guarantees are not satisfied, suppliers, manufacturers and importers must remedy the problem by repair, replacement or refund," Mr

Bradbury said.

Fair trading regulators in all States and Territories, as well as the national regulators - the ACCC and ASIC - will be working together to enforce the ACL consistently around the nation.

"Consumers and businesses can contact their State or Territory consumer agency, the ACCC or ASIC to receive advice about problems with goods and services and about their rights and responsibilities under the ACL."

The Ministerial Council on Consumer Affairs issued a Joint Statement on the Australian Consumer Law, which is available on www.consumerlaw.gov.au.

3 December 2010

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