In this submission PIAC supports the development of a national ACL, as it provides benchmark rules and an opportunity to establish world-class consumer laws. Having these benchmarks promoted in every jurisdiction will help make consumer laws more accessible and ultimately should make consumers more informed of their rights. PIAC highlights that its primary concern in relation to the ACL is to ensure that consumers are better off as a result of this development, and do not lose rights through the development of the ACL. The move to develop a harmonised approach to consumer law should be seen as an opportunity to develop world’s best practice, not to move to implement a common denominator approach based on existing consumer protections in various states and territories. PIAC also strongly supports the introduction of national consumer protections against unfair contract terms as the Victorian experience of such protections has been positive.PIAC comments specifically on different models of harmonisation and the need to ensure the model adopted is going to provide the best consumer protection outcomes. PIAC also provides comments and recommendations on proposed improvements in compliance and enforcement, but urges the Government to go further through the inclusion of a super-complaint mechanism, an effective national consumer organisation and access to cy-pres and other consumer remedies. PIAC also calls for the development of core dispute resolutions principles to ensure consumers can access an effective mechanism no matter where they live.
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