The Federal Government has granted additional funding to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), to assist it in cracking down on businesses that gouge customers by making misleading carbon claims.
The move comes after the Government announced it was placing a price on carbon of $23 per tonne on the nations 500 worst polluters.
The ACCC will use its powers under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) to investigate and prosecute any business that makes false or misleading representations about the impact of the carbon price on the price they charge consumers. Under the ACL, the ACCC has the power to impose penalties of up to $1.1 million.
The Government will also direct the ACCC to give the highest priority to:
- Educating businesses on their obligations to not make false or misleading statements to consumers about the impact of the carbon price on the price they charge consumers.
- Raising awareness amongst consumers by informing them that businesses are prohibited from making false statements about the impact of putting a price on pollution.
The Government has provided ACCC new funding of $12.8 million over 4 years to carry out this role as part of the Clean Energy Future package.
“We recognise the vast majority of businesses will do the right thing. This funding will help stop the small number of businesses that may seek to take advantage of their customers with false and misleading claims about the impact of the carbon price,” the Government said.
“As we put in place the arrangements over the next 12 months, we will work with the ACCC, consumer groups, businesses and the broader community to ensure appropriate protections are in place for Australian consumers.”