Voluntary codes

Non-prescribed voluntary industry codes of conduct set out specific standards of conduct for an industry including how to deal with its members and customers. These codes only apply to those who sign up to them. The ACCC may be able to assist your industry in developing a voluntary code by providing general guidance. We do not have a role in drafting voluntary codes.

Benefits of a voluntary code

The ACCC encourages industry to develop codes that will deliver effective compliance with the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. Effective codes potentially deliver increased consumer protection and reduced regulatory burdens for business. To achieve this they must be well designed, effectively implemented and properly enforced.

How is a voluntary code developed?

There are many factors that should be considered when developing a non-prescribed voluntary industry code of conduct to ensure it will become and will remain an effective self-regulatory tool.

As a starting point the ACCC recommends that you consider the:

  • appropriateness of a voluntary industry code as a self-regulatory tool for the industry
  • competition implications of introducing a voluntary code of conduct
  • role of any industry associations in the development of a voluntary industry code
  • need for a code administration committee to oversee the code
  • purpose and objectives of the voluntary industry code and how the achievement of these objectives will be measured
  • coverage of the code
  • sanctions that will apply for non-compliance with the code
  • collection of data and monitoring the effectiveness of the code.

The ACCC can provide guidance to industry associations looking to develop a voluntary industry code. The role of the ACCC also includes granting authorisation for certain anti-competitive conduct on public benefit grounds.

Read the ACCC guidelines

Read the ACCC guidelines before you start developing a voluntary industry code and think carefully about how you’ll get industry participants to sign up to the code.

More information

Industry codes