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Monday, 30 August 1993
Page: 579

(Question No. 236)


Senator Ian Macdonald asked the Minister representing the Minister for Consumer Affairs, upon notice, on 20 May 1993:

  (1) Why are there no industry representatives on the newly created Australian Consumers' Council (ACC).

  (2) Was any peak industry body, such as the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), or the Business Council of Australia, or the Confederation of Australian Industry approached for input into the ACC; if not why not.

  (3) Do peak bodies, such as the ACCI, speak for Australian industry, or does the Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals in Business, or any other society, represent industry interests.


Senator Bolkus —The Minister for Consumer Affairs has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

  (1) Industry and business are represented on the Australian Consumers' Council (ACC). The ACC was created to provide the Government with consumers' views on strategies for effective consumer protection. Its objective is to provide a source of expertise to enable the Minister both to anticipate consumer protection developments and to make the quickest and most effective response to consumer protection developments as they arise. The Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals in Business (SOCAP) was asked to nominate a member on the ACC in order to help bring the widest community perspective to the ACC's task.

  (2) None of the peak bodies cited was approached for input into the Australian Consumers' Council. SOCAP was approached to nominate a member of the ACC, for the reason cited in (1).

  (3) The responsibility and purpose of SOCAP are specifically to foster and maintain the integrity of business in dealing with consumers and to encourage and promote effective communication and understanding between business, consumers and government. There can be no more effective voice on the Australian Consumers' Council than SOCAP for business and industry which are committed to the best interests of their customers.