Role and activities
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is an independent statutory authority. It was formed in 1995 to administer the Trade Practices Act 1974 and other acts.
The ACCC promotes competition and fair trade in the market place to benefit consumers, business and the community. It also regulates national infrastructure industries. Its primary responsibility is to ensure that individuals and businesses comply with the Commonwealth's competition, fair trading and consumer protection laws.
The ACCC is the only national agency dealing generally with competition matters and the only agency with responsibility for enforcing the Trade Practices Act and the state/territory application legislation.
In fair trading and consumer protection its role complements that of the state and territory consumer affairs agencies which administer the mirror legislation of their jurisdictions, and the Competition and Consumer Policy Division of the Commonwealth Treasury.
As well as education and information the ACCC recommends dispute resolution when possible as an alternative to litigation, can authorise some anti-competitive conduct, and will take legal action when necessary. We provide a range of plain language publications, most being available on this website.
ACCC initiatives include promoting consumer education in rural areas and with indigenous communities.
ACCC and the Trade Practices Act
The Trade Practices Act’s purpose is to enhance the welfare of Australians through the promotion of competition and fair trading and provision for consumer protection.
The Act deals with almost all aspects of the marketplace: the relationships between suppliers, wholesalers, retailers, competitors and customers.
In broad terms the Act covers unfair market practices, industry codes, mergers and acquisitions of companies, product safety, product labelling, price monitoring, and the regulation of industries such as telecommunications, gas, electricity and airports.
The major parts of the Trade Practices Act
- Part IIIA—third party access to nationally significant, essential facilities
- Part IV—anti-competitive practices
- Part IVA—unconscionable conduct in commercial and consumer transactions
- Part IVB—industry codes of conduct
- Part V—unfair practices, product safety and information, country of origin representations, conditions and warranties, misleading and deceptive conduct
- Part VA—liability of manufacturers and importers for defective goods
- Part VC—criminal conduct in fair trading and consumer protection
- Part VII—authorisations and notifications
- Part VIIA—price monitoring and surveillance relating to industries or businesses declared by the Australian Government
- Part X—international liner cargo shipping
- Part XIB—anti-competitive conduct in telecommunications
- Part XIC—access to services for telecommunications