ACCC & AER annual report 2016-17

Effective communication

We focus significantly on communicating with all our audiences and stakeholders and have a significant media and online presence. In 2016–17 our websites had a combined total of 26 052 415 page views.

Our approach to engagement

The ACCC/AER is applying a strategic approach to tailoring messages and using communication channels to increase our connection with:

  • consumers and groups representing various interests, including vulnerable and disadvantaged consumers
  • small to medium businesses and the associations that represent them
  • journalists who can help to spread compliance and consumer rights messages and publicise successful legal action that will deter illegal conduct
  • infrastructure industries and regulated industries
  • our state and territory counterparts and other relevant regulators
  • legal and business support professionals
  • international forums and groups.

Our aim is to inform and educate so that consumers and small businesses feel confident to exercise their rights and businesses have the knowledge and skills to comply with the law. We also give information to large businesses, their suppliers and consumers so they can understand the ACCC’s and AER’s roles in infrastructure and the measures we take to ensure competition and fair trading.

The channels the ACCC an d AER use to engage the target groups include:

  • the ACCC website,, and associated websites dedicated to product safety, product recalls, scams, the Australian Energy Regulator, energy price comparison and freedom of information
  • mainstream and social media
  • the ACCC Infocentre telephone lines: a general enquiries and complaints line and specific numbers for:
    • Indigenous consumers
    • small businesses
    • unit pricing
    • energy price comparison
  • education guides, DVDs, online learning modules, webinars and interactive apps
  • information translated into languages other than English
  • face-to-face education outreach for small businesses and compliance
  • speeches by the Chairperson, Commissioners and AER Board members
  • guides and publications on a wide range of topics.

Communicating our messages

The Strategic Communications Branch develops strategies and works with the operational areas of the ACCC and AER to inform consumers, business, media and government about our role and work. As well as working daily on media issues, the branch liaises with business areas to ensure that our information is clear and easy to understand, targeted to audience needs and readily accessible.

The Strategic Communications Branch is leading the change to a ‘digital first’ approach to communication by using the ACCC and AER websites as the default channels.

Online communications

ACCC and AER websites

Figure 4.4: Website page view growth between 2015–16 and 2016–17

Social media

The Strategic Communications Branch works with the operational areas of the ACCC and AER to provide social media governance and guidance. It also manages social media accounts on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Two of the largest referrers of traffic to the ACCC website are Facebook and Twitter. This demonstrates the effectiveness of our cross-platform communication strategies.

We have three Facebook pages:

  • ACCC Consumer Rights—building awareness of consumer issues and responding to simple enquiries and comments. It had 55 825 ‘likes’, adding 18 953 in 2016–17. We posted to the page 120 times, potentially reaching 12 920 130 users.
  • ACCC Product Safety—sharing product safety news, tips and recalls. It had 38 906 ‘likes’, adding 8473 in 2016–17. There were 666 posts to the page, potentially reaching 9 658 271 users.
  • ACCC—Your Rights Mob Tiwi Islands—delivering targeted consumer protection messages for Indigenous Australians in the Tiwi Islands. It had 4754 ‘likes’, adding 666 in 2016–17. There were 90 posts to the page, potentially reaching 353 546 users.

We maintain three Twitter accounts:

  • @acccgovau—promoting ACCC news, activities and tips and responding to queries. It had 14 075 followers, adding 3915 in 2016–17. There were 471 tweets from the account, seen 1 155 235 times
  • @ACCCprodsafety—sharing recalls and product safety news and tips. It had 7496 followers, adding 1016 in 2016–17. There were 660 tweets from the account, seen 1 045 912 times
  • @Scamwatch_gov—alerting social media users to new scams and providing tips on how to avoid being scammed. It had 14 046 followers, adding 2834 in 2016–17. There were 147 tweets from the account, seen 1 577 550 times.
  • The ACCC and Product Safety YouTube channels host videos on a range of topics for use on other social media sites and the ACCC website. Videos on the ACCC channel were viewed 230 369 times, adding 56 743 views in 2016–17. Videos on the Product Safety channel were viewed 231 558 times, adding 2618 views in 2016–17.

Our LinkedIn company page engages small businesses and other professionals on a range of consumer and competition issues, promotes campaigns, events and consultations, and positions us as an employer of choice. It has 6415 followers, adding 1411 in 2016–17. There were 50 posts to the account, potentially reaching 707 080 users.

News releases and speeches

In 2016–17 the ACCC issued 277 news releases and the AER issued 44.

The Chairperson and Commissioners/Board members undertook more than 100 public speaking engagements. Through the speeches program, we engage with many stakeholder groups, from local communities, small business associations and industry and professional groups through to the boards of multinational corporations.

Reports and guides

The ACCC and AER are required to produce a number of reports to parliament and ministers. In addition we prepare specific, more detailed guides for consumers, businesses and industries on a range of competition and consumer issues. We continue to favour digital production and distribution over hard copy for these reports and guides, but provide hard copies for disadvantaged and hard to reach audiences.

In 2016–17:

  • our online publications received 756 743 page views, up from 648 507 in 2015–16.
  • our Little black book of scams—a guide to detecting and avoiding scams—continued to be popular, especially with the elderly and vulnerable audiences. We distributed 137 085 copies of the publication during the period, many through police stations, aged care facilities, and consumer affairs and fair trading organisations.