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Hockey launches industry conduct codes

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The Minister for Financial Services & Regulation, Joe Hockey, today moved to ease the regulatory burden on business while preserving consum er sovereignty with the release of the Government's policy on prescribing industry codes under the Trade Practices Act.

"The option of underpinning industry codes of conduct in the Trade Practices Act presents Government with an exciting opportunity to substitute market-sensitive coregulation for onerous government-imposed regulation," the Minister said.

The option of enforcing code compliance was introduced in the fair trading am endm ents which took effect from 1 July 1998.

"These Guidelines on Prescribing Codes reinforce this Government's comm itm ent to explore ways of reducing the regulatoryburden on business while preserving the sovereignty of consumers, who will always be entitled to insist on the very highest standards the market can offer.

"The new regulatory option will result in better regulation, not more regulation. The codes prescription pow er is unlikely to be exercised often, and it will be subject to the sam e rigorous regulation impact analysis that applies to other new regulation.

"I have a great belief in allowing industry to regulate itself. In an increasingly global marketplace, consumers have more choices than ever before and will be exercising their sovereignty by rejecting suppliers that fail to ensure high standards of information disclosure, customer service and product quality.

"However, where industry is unable to maintain appropriate standards through self-regulatory means, and when there is severe m arket failure, I will look to prescribe industry codes to make lack of compliance illegal and subject to enforcement under the Trade Practices Act."

The Guidelines can be located on the Internet at: h ttp ://w w w .

Copies of the Guidelines can be obtained from the Treasury; please call Debbie Banfield in the Consumer Affairs Division on 02 6263 2749.

28 May 1999 18/99

Media contact: Matthew Abbott, Minister's office, 0413 076 213

Treasury contact: Janet Murphy, General Manger, Consumer Affairs D ivision, 02 6263 3992

The Minister's speeches and media releases are available on

The HONjoe Hockeyxip Minister for Financial Services & Regulation

Parliam ent House, Canberra ACT 2600 Australia

Telephone (61 2) 6277 7230 Facsimile (61 2) 6273 4075

w w w .minfsr. treasury. go v .au