Joint media release with
The Hon Stephen Jones MP
Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Financial Services
The Albanese Government is introducing legislation to protect Australian households and ease the cost of living by increasing penalties for breaches of competition and consumer law.
Competition plays a vital role in driving down prices and changes to the law are necessary to ensure a level playing field and stop big companies from using their size to dominate markets.
That’s why Labor is moving to increase penalties for corporations engaging in anti‑competitive behaviour from $10 million to $50 million, ensuring the price for misconduct is high enough to deter unfair activity.
The current turnover‑based penalty will also be increased from 10 per cent of annual turnover to 30 per cent of turnover for the period the breach took place, and penalties for individuals will increase from $500,000 to $2.5 million. This ensures those who perpetuated the wrongdoing, either individually or on behalf of the company, are held accountable.
The Government is conscious of the close ties between the consumer law and the consumer protection provisions of the financial services law. Treasury will soon consult publicly on the desirability of increasing maximum penalties for these provisions, to ensure the law continues to provide robust and effective protection of consumer interests across all sectors of the economy.
The amendments will facilitate the imposition of penalties that are more comparable with those in other countries.
Quotes attributable to the Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Financial Services, the Hon Stephen Jones MP:
“At times like these, we need to use every tool in the shed to protect working families from unfair practises. Increasing penalties puts everyone on notice that anti-competitive behaviour will not be tolerated.”
Quotes attributable to the Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities, and Treasury, the Hon Dr Andrew Leigh MP:
"Competition is the bedrock that a fair economy is built on. Greater competition means better prices and more choice for Australian households struggling with the rising cost of living."
"But we only get increased competition if the big companies play by the rules. That’s why Labor is increasing penalties, to ensure that there’s a level playing field for all Australian businesses, big and small. Fines should not be so modest that companies can treat them as a mere cost of doing business.”