The ACCC is an independent statutory authority that enforces the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (previously the Trade Practices Act 1974) and other legislation.
The Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (CCA) covers most areas of the market: the relationships between suppliers, wholesalers, retailers, and consumers. Its purpose is to enhance the welfare of Australians by promoting fair trading and competition, and through the provision of consumer protections.
Broadly, it covers:
- product safety and labelling
- unfair market practices
- price monitoring
- industry codes
- industry regulation – airports, electricity, gas, telecommunications
- mergers and acquisitions.
- Part IIIA - third party access to nationally significant, essential facilities
- Part IV - anti-competitive practices
- Part IVB - industry codes of conduct
- Part VI - enforcement and remedies
- Part VII - authorisations, notifications and class exemptions
- Part VIIA - price monitoring and surveillance relating to industries or businesses declared by the Australian Government
- Part X - international liner cargo shipping
- Part XI - application of ACL as a law of the Commonwealth
- Part XIB - anti-competitive conduct in telecommunications
- Part XIC - access to services for telecommunications
Schedule 2 - the Australian Consumer Law
The Australian Consumer Law (Schedule 2 of the CCA) - misleading or deceptive conduct, unconscionable conduct, unfair practices, conditions and warranties, product safety and information, liability of manufacturers for goods with safety defects offences, country of origin representations.
Some Commonwealth, state and territory Acts permit conduct that would normally contravene the Competition and Consumer Act. Section 51(1) of the Competition and Consumer Act provides that such conduct may be permitted if it is specifically authorised under those other Acts.