The following milestones represent key aspects in the development and administration of competition and consumer law in Australia:


Australian Industries Preservation Act 1906 becomes law – Australia’s first competition law


High Court and Privy Council decisions limit the effect of the Australian Industries Preservation Act 1906


Trade Practices Act 1965 becomes law (and repeals the Australian Industries Preservation Act 1906). Commissioner of Trade Practices established


Trade Practices Act 1974 becomes law. Trade Practices Commission (TPC) established.



Prices Surveillance Authority (PSA) established


Trade Practices (Transfer of Market Dominance) Amendment Act 1986 – lowers threshold test, regulates certain overseas mergers, prohibits unconscionable conduct and rewrites product safety provisions


Trade Practices Legislation Amendment Act 1992 – narrows the competition test, increases penalties for unconscionable conduct and makes undertakings legally enforceable

International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN) established – Australia one of its first members


ACCC is established by merging the Trade Practices Commission (TPC) and Prices Surveillance Authority (PSA)



National Competition Council (NCC) established. Trade Practices Tribunal renamed the Australian Competition Tribunal

Major reforms result in universal application of the competition principles of the Act across Australia


Franchising Code of Conduct established


A prices oversight regime is established under the Act to ensure there is no price exploitation with the introduction of the GST


ACCC Infocentre established when the GST Price Help Line is absorbed into a general helpline

International Competition Network (ICN) established with the ACCC a founding member (one of 16 agencies)


Australian Energy Regulator (AER) established – responsible for the regulation of distribution and retailing



Tobacco companies required to fund a $9 million advertising campaign to raise awareness that low yield cigarettes may not be less harmful to a smoker's health than high yield cigarettes


Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce established to increase awareness about consumer scams

SCAMwatch website launched


Oil Code and Horticulture Code of Conduct established


Federal Court awards the highest penalties to date in a cartel case – $38 million – against Visy Industries Holdings

ACCC directed to monitor the prices, costs and profits of unleaded petrol in Australia


Unit Pricing Code takes effect requiring grocery retailers to display a unit price to help consumers compare the price of products of different sizes


The Australian Consumer Law begins in January and provides a single law for consumer protection in all state, territory and Commonwealth jurisdictions.


Trade Practices Act 1974 becomes the Competition and Consumer Act 2010


Successful proceedings against various airlines for cartel conduct, with more than $98 million in penalties awarded - the highest ever cumulative penalties


Competition and consumer law in Australia celebrates its 40th anniversary

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