ACCC Links with consumer representatives on GST

20 December 1999
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has taken a significant step forward in establishing a price exploitation consumer advisory group, representing consumer interests in preventing price exploitation during the introduction of the New Tax System next year.

"The Australian Consumers Association and other significant consumer organisations support the initiative, ACCC Chairman, Professor Allan Fels, said today.

"We want to work with the consumer movement to channel information to consumers about the impact of the New Tax System and to seek out their views on the type of information they want.

"Consumers should have accurate information about the tax changes so they can question businesses about prices and report any unreasonable price rises to the ACCC.

"The ACCC will ensure that consumers receive the full benefit from indirect tax reductions and are not ripped off during the change to the New Tax System," Professor Fels said.

"We will be joining forces with 19 million consumers in Australia to keep a check on those businesses attempting to break the law on pricing.

"Prices should reflect reductions in indirect taxes where these occur and consumers should not be exposed to greater than necessary price rises.

Professor Fels said the ACCC has specific powers under the Trade Practices Act 1974 to ensure consumers are not exploited leading up to and after the introduction of the New Tax System.

"We are working closely with the Government, business and consumer associations to prevent profiteering and to monitor price movements."

The ACCC is calling for expressions of interest from consumer representatives interested in participating in the new consumer advisory group.

Nominations are sought by 14 January 2000, with the first meeting scheduled in February.

The ACCC will be keeping consumers informed through newsletters, publications for special interest groups and industry, the media and on line.

An ACCC Price Hotline (1300 302 502) is also operating to encourage consumers and businesses to alert the ACCC about any unjustified price increases - or to seek more information about the law prohibiting price exploitation.

Any business that raises its prices now in anticipation of the start of the New Tax System on 1 July 2000 is in danger of being investigated for anticipatory pricing.
Release number: 
MR 248/99
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