Each year the ACCC releases areas of enforcement they will be giving priority to throughout the year. While all complaints are considered, the ACCC focuses on activities that result in widespread consumer detriment, and harm the competitive process. Some areas are considered so important to consumer protection they are always listed as priority, such as cartel conduct and anti-competitive agreements, and the misuse of market power. The ACCC reviews its priorities regularly.
To avoid prosecution by the ACCC for unfair business practices, the ACCC recommend a compliance program to manage compliance responsibilities.
The ACCC conducts most of its enforcement work under the provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. The purpose of the Act is to enhance the welfare of Australians by:
- Promoting competition among business
- Promoting fair trading by business
- Providing for the protection of consumers in their dealings with business
In enforcing compliance with provisions of the Act, the ACCC’s main goals are to:
- Maintain and promote competition and remedy market failure, and
- Protect the interests and safety of consumers and support fair trading in markets.
In 2013, the ACCC will prioritise its focus in the following areas:
- Consumer protection in the telecommunications and energy sectors
- Online competition and consumer issues including conduct which may impede emerging competition between online traders or limit the ability of small businesses to effectively compete online
- Competition and consumer issues in highly concentrated sectors, in particular in the supermarket and fuel sectors
- Credence claims, particularly those in the food industry with the potential to have a significant impact on consumers or the competitive process
- Misleading carbon pricing representations
- The ACL consumer guarantees regime
- Consumer protection issues impacting on indigenous consumers