We review and update our publications for legislative and other changes. Publications under review are kept on the website for research and general information purposes.
From 1 September 2018, penalties against corporations for certain breaches of the Australian Consumer Law increased from $1 million to the greater of:
- $10 million
- three times the value of the benefit received, or
- 10 per cent of annual turnover in preceding 12 months, if court cannot determine benefit obtained from the offence.
Maximum penalties for individuals have increased from $220 000 to $500 000.
Publications that refer to penalties will be reviewed and updated to reflect the increase.
On 1 July 2020 the value of a penalty unit increased from $210 to $222. Publications that refer to penalty units will be reviewed and updated to reflect the increase.
Several of the penalties administered by the ACCC are calculated using penalty units rather than dollar figures. The implications of this legislative change are that, in relation to penalties calculated using penalty units:
- administrative penalties (in the case of the ACCC, infringement penalty notices) will be increased
- maximum available penalties for some court-imposed fines will also rise.
The new penalty unit value only applies to contraventions that occurred on or after 1 July 2020. This means that the changes do not impact on contraventions that occurred before 1 July 2020, or current proceedings for contraventions that took place before that date.
The Australian Consumer Law (ACL) was introduced on 1 January 2011 and replaced previous Commonwealth, state and territory consumer protection legislation in fair trading acts. It is contained in a schedule to the Trade Practices Act 1974, which has been renamed the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (CCA).
Key changes introduced by the ACL included new consumer protections, a range of new enforcement powers for the ACCC and other regulators, and the introduction of a national product safety system.
All ACCC publications that refer to the Trade Practices Act are under review.