ACCC uncovers false 'Australian Made' claims by Creswick Woollen Mills for its merino wool blankets

19 December 2008

Creswick Woollen Mills Pty Ltd has admitted making false Australian Made claims for its premium merino wool blankets for the past three years, following an ACCC investigation. The blanket material was spun and woven in China, with only the cutting and sewing done in Australia.

Creswick Woollen Mills, based near Ballarat in Victoria, has acknowledged the ACCC's view that substantial transformation of its merino wool blankets did not take place in Australia and that it has contravened sections 52, 53(c), 53(eb) and 55 of the Trade Practices Act 1974.*
Under the Act, goods can only be represented as being of Australian origin if they have been substantially transformed in Australia, and at least 50 per cent of the costs of manufacturing the goods have been incurred in Australia. 

Creswick's false Australian Made claims for its merino wool blankets included misuse of the official Australian Made logo.  Use of the Australian Made logo, the distinctive triangular logo containing a kangaroo graphic, is licensed by Australian Made Campaign Limited which requires licensees to fully comply with the country of origin requirements of the Act when displaying the logo.

Creswick has given the ACCC court-enforceable undertakings that it will:

  • publish a corrective notice in major daily newspapers and on its website acknowledging the falsity of its Australian Made claims for its merino wool blankets, and that it may be liable under the Act to compensate consumers who purchased the blankets
  • instruct its retailers to remove all Australian Made claims from the packaging of Creswick merino wool blankets that the retailers currently have in stock
  • amend the packaging and labelling of its merino wool blankets to remove all Australian Made claims
  • remove from its website and promotional material any representations that make reference to the Australian origin of its merino wool blankets
  • have its sales and marketing staff undertake trade practices education and training designed to ensure that its staff are aware of their responsibilities under the Act, particularly in relation to country of origin claims.

"Creswick's claim that its merino wool blankets were Australian Made falsely conveyed to consumers that the blankets were substantially transformed in Australia," ACCC Chairman, Mr Graeme Samuel, said today. 

"This false impression given by Creswick to consumers was reinforced by Creswick's improper usage of the Australian Made logo on the packaging of its blankets. It is important that consumer confidence in the integrity of the well-known Australian Made logo is maintained. 

"Many consumers buy particular brands specifically because they want Australian made goods and are entitled to expect that claims made by a business that its goods are Australian made are correct and truthful," Mr Samuel said. 

Creswick has advised the ACCC that its merino wool blankets have been mainly sold through Bev Marks, DAFA Souvenirs, David Jones, Golders, Goldmart, Palicon House, Supermart and Wynnes Drapery as well as through Creswick outlets.  David Jones was the largest individual seller of the Creswick blankets.

A copy of the undertaking will be available on the ACCC's website.

For media inquiries to the ACCC Chairman, Mr Graeme Samuel, please call Ms Lin Enright, ACCC Media, on (02) 6243 1108 or 0414 613 520. 

For general inquiries, please call the Infocentre: 1300 302 502.

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Release number: 
MR 365/08
ACCC Infocentre: 

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