What the ACCC does

  • We enforce the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.
  • We provide general information about businesses’ obligations under competition law.

What the ACCC can't do

  • We don’t enforce codes or rules developed by professional associations.
  • We don’t provide legal advice.
  • We don't settle disputes relating to industry associations.

On this page

Rules and regulations for professional associations

Professional associations are organisations of people from the same industry. They help educate members, maintain high standards and ensure ethical behaviour within an industry.

Professional associations can develop their own codes of conduct or voluntary professional rules. However, they must comply with the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.

How to operate within the law

What you can do

Professional associations can take steps to ensure they are operating within the law. These steps include:

  • checking that any self regulation codes, restrictions, and sanctions:
    • comply with the Act
    • are transparent, and
    • do not get in the way of competition
  • ensuring membership rules are:
    • transparent and
    • applied equally to all potential members, including supporting reasons for accreditation or qualification requirements
  • checking that the rules are not overly restrictive and don't have the effect of limiting competition. This includes raising barriers to new providers
  • taking great care when providing information about prices or costs to your members
  • ensuring that members understand they must independently:
    • determine their own prices and
    • negotiate their own contracts.

This may mean educating members on how to calculate and set their own prices, and conduct their own negotiations. You should avoid advising members on what those prices should be.

Misleading advertising

Educate your members about misleading advertising.

Ensure advertising:

  • is not false or misleading
  • is genuinely in the interests of consumers and not a way to restrict individual professionals from promoting their particular skills
  • uses language that the average consumer can understand.

Help consumers better understand the nature and value of the services your members provide. You can do this by providing information on things to consider when selecting an appropriate professional.

See industry associations for more detailed information on these topics.

What you can’t do

Professional associations must not:

  • develop codes of conduct or voluntary professional rules that don’t comply with the Act
  • negotiate contracts, arrangements or understandings on behalf of members that:

There are other rules that fall outside of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. These are generally overseen by the National Competition Council.

See industry associations for more detailed information on these topics.

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