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Voluntary codes: ACCC still has questions to answer.

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Media Release by…

ALAN GRIFFIN MP Shadow Minister for Consumer Protection & Consumer Health

14 October 2003


While welcoming the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) draft guidelines for endorsing voluntary codes of practice, many concerns still remain about the both the appropriateness and effectiveness of these codes.

The key questions and concerns for consumers that arose when ACCC Chairman, Mr Samuel, announced his new deal on codes are yet to be answered.

These questions include:

É How will the ACCC deal with the perception of a conflict of interest if enforcement action is required against particular companies which are party to an endorsed code?

É Given that the ACCC has previously worked to ensure it was not perceived to be open to regulatory capture could this proposal jeopardise that independence?

É What does the ACCC propose to do about the situation where not all companies sign up to an industry code of practice - how will the ACCC prevent unscrupulous companies from gaining the benefits of perceived code endorsement when they have not signed up?

The ACCC needs to provide assurance that their backing of voluntary codes of practice will not take precedence over their previous aggressive approach to enforcement.

For further information please contact: Alan Griffin: 0419 353 476