Publications under review

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.

Consumer law penalties increase

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 form 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.

Increase in value of penalty units

On 1 July 2017 the value of a penalty unit increased from $180 to $210. 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 will only apply to contraventions that occur on or after 1 July 2017. This means that the changes will not impact on contraventions that occur before 1 July 2017, or current proceedings for contraventions that took place before that date.

Australian Consumer Law updates

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.

More information

Consumer rights & guarantees

Consumer law penalties set to increase