Title Competition and Consumer Amendment (Truth in Labelling—Palm Oil) Bill 2017
Database Explanatory Memoranda
Date 04-07-2019 01:15 PM
Source Senate
System Id legislation/ems/s1074_ems_96b4ad0a-54d8-4091-bcdd-a6cfb69a9d55


Competition and Consumer Amendment (Truth in Labelling—Palm Oil) Bill 2017

 

 

 

 

2016-2017

 

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

 

 

SENATE

 

 

 

 

 

COMPETITION AND CONSUMER AMENDMENT
(TRUTH IN LABELLING—PALM OIL) BILL 2017

 

 

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of Senator Xenophon)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

COMPETITION AND CONSUMER AMENDMENT (TRUTH IN LABELLING—PALM OIL) BILL 2017

 

OUTLINE

 

The purpose of this Bill is to provide for the accurate labelling of palm oil in food and other goods.

 

Palm oil is used in approximately 40 percent of food products, however under current labelling laws, manufacturers are able to label palm oil as "vegetable oil", preventing consumers from being able to make an informed choice about the foods they purchase and consume.

 

Palm oil is also used in non-food products, including cosmetics, soap, washing powders and other cleansing products.

 

Palm oil production results in extensive deforestation. As the major producers are Malaysia and Indonesia, this has led to the removal of wildlife habitat and has placed many species, including the endangered Orang-utan, at risk.

 

It's estimated that 300 soccer fields of forest is cut down each hour for oil palm plantations, resulting in the deaths of more than 1000 Orang-utans a year.

 

This Bill is designed to give consumers accurate information to allow them to make an informed choice about whether they want to purchase or consume a product containing palm oil.

 

Palm oil can be produced in a sustainable manner. The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) has set out criteria to measure sustainable palm oil production.

 

These criteria include transparency, compliance with local, national and international ratified laws and regulations, use of best practices by growers and millers, environmental responsibility, appropriate work labour laws and development of new plantings.

 

A not-for-profit organisation formed in 2004, the RSPO aims to promote the growth and use of sustainable palm oil products through credible global standards and the engagement of stakeholders. The RSPO includes members from the seven sectors of the palm oil industry - oil palm producers, palm oil processors or traders, consumer goods manufacturers, retailers, banks and investors, environmental or nature conservation NGOs and social or developmental NGOs.

 

This Bill encourages the use of certified sustainable palm oil, with manufacturers meeting the RSPO’s criteria able to label the ingredient as such to indicate its sustainable origins. In so doing, manufacturers are able to advise consumers that palm oil is an ingredient of the product, but that it has been produced with minimal impact to the environment and no impact on wildlife habitat.

 

Ultimately, the intent of the Bill is to provide consumers with accurate labelling information about palm oil to enable them to make an informed choice.

 

The Bill provides 12 months for the Minister to make an information standard for goods containing palm oil and ensures that an information standard for goods containing palm oil is in force at all times.

 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

 

Clause 1: Short Title

 

1.         This clause is a formal provision and specifies that the short title of the Act may be cited as the Competition and Consumer Amendment (Truth in Labelling—Palm Oil) Act 2017.

 

Clause 2: Commencement

 

2.         This clause provides for the commencement of the whole of the Act to be the day after this Act receives the Royal Assent.

 

Clause 3 --Schedules

 

3.         This clause states that each Act specified in a Schedule to this Act is amended or repealed as is set out in the applicable items in the Schedule. Any other item in a Schedule to this Act has effect according to its terms.

 

Clause 4 –Purpose of Act

 

4.         This clause states that the purpose of this Act is to ensure that consumers have clear, accurate information about the inclusion of palm oil in goods.

 

Schedule 1 – Amendments

 

Competition and Consumer Act 2010

 

Item 1—After section 134 of Schedule 2

 

5.         Item 1 inserts section 134A after Schedule 2.

 

·         Subsection 134A(1) states that the Commonwealth Minister must, within 12 months after the commencement of this section, make an information standard under subsection 134(1) for goods containing palm oil. Information standards regulate the amount of information provided to consumers about goods and services and are a vital tool to ensure consumers make an informed choice when purchasing goods that contain palm oil;

 

·         Subsection 134A(2) requires the Commonwealth Minister to ensure that an information standard for goods containing palm oil is in force at all times after the first one comes into force. This subsection ensures that at all times an information standard is in force; and

 

·         Subsection 134A(3) sets out what the information standard applies to and the information it must contain. The information standard must apply to goods manufactured on or after a date no later than 12 months after the commencement of section 134A and will only apply to goods supplied by way of retail sale from a business to a consumer. The information standard requires goods that contain palm oil to provide information that the goods contain palm oil, regardless of the amount, and that this information is provided on a label that is on the goods, on the package of the goods, accompanies the goods or displayed in connection with the sale of the goods.


 

Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights

 

Prepared in accordance with Part 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011

 

Competition and Consumer Amendment (Truth in Labelling—Palm Oil) Bill 2017

 

This Bill is compatible with human rights and freedoms recognised or declared in the international instruments listed in section 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011.

 

Overview of the Bill

 

The purpose of this Bill is to provide for the accurate labelling of palm oil in food and other goods.

 

Human rights implications

 

This Bill does not engage any of the applicable rights or freedoms as it deals with the improvement of labelling goods that contain palm oil.

 

Conclusion

 

This Bill is compatible with human rights as it does not raise any human rights issues.

 

 

Senator Xenophon