ACCC announces enforcement priorities for 2017

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 1st March 2017

Small businesses are part of the ACCC's priorities for 2017

In a major statement this week, the Chairman of Australia’s business and consumer affairs regulatory enforcer, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), has announced the key enforcement and compliance priorities for 2017.

Speaking at a Committee for Economic Development of Australia event in Sydney yesterday, Chairman, Rod Sims, said 2017’s priorities include misleading and deceptive practices, anti-competitive conduct and unfair contract terms affecting small business.

“I can foreshadow that we will have a big focus on unfair contracts in 2017, following the introduction of new laws to protect small business in 2016,” Sims said.

“What that means is that large companies can no longer have unilateral terms in their standard contracts that put small businesses at a significant disadvantage,” he said.

Possible jail time for cartel behaviour

Sims said he fears only jail sentences will deter cartel behaviour and help send messages about how they can seriously damage competition and the economy.

“Last year, ACCC investigations led to two criminal cartel charges and we have advanced investigations into other alleged cartels,” Sims said.

Anti-competitive conduct leads to establishment of new ACCC unit

The ACCC said fresh concerns about anti-competitive conduct has led to the establishment of a new commercial construction unit within the ACCC.

“A newly established team will focus on competition issues in the commercial construction sector across Australia. We have continuing investigations in that area and we will put additional resources towards new ones,” Sims said.

Summary of ACCC’s 2017 priorities:

  1. Misleading and deceptive practice
  2. Anti-Competitive conduct
  3. Unfair contract terms affecting small business
  4. Cartel behaviour


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