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Monday March 19, 2018

ACCC Notes 2018 Product Safety Goals, Including ACL Update

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) March 14 announced nine product safety targets for 2018. These came in its report ( on its priorities. The broadest is to seek "progressive reforms" to the agency's authorities under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).


Chairman Rod Sims explained ( this desire in a March 15 speech before Australia's National Consumer Congress. He said ACCC's powers are reactive, and he envisioned stronger safe design mandates for producers. He suggested that costs would be minimal for companies already doing so and that consumer trust in emerging products might increase.


He asserted:

"We are lagging behind the UK, EU, Canada, Malaysia, Singapore and Brazil. It’s time we catch up with them and provide Australians with a reason to have greater confidence in the safety of the goods they purchase."

The other eight either reflect ongoing issues for ACCC (PSL, 3/5/18) or echo challenges voiced by its counterparts, such as in the EU (see related story) or U.S. (PSL, 3/12/18):

  • ATVs: ACCC cited 16 deaths per year, many in agricultural settings. It stressed concerns about risks to children.

  • Button Batteries: It cited and average of 20 ER visits per week by children due to ingestions.

  • State/Territory Outreach: Targets would be injury reductions involving baby walkers and unstable furniture.

  • Online Shopping: It said the "explosion" of such purchasing means many products "fall through the cracks."

  • Standards Reviews: ACCC would continue looking at potential updates to its 66 mandatory rules or bans.

  • Surveillance: Targets will be interconnected devices, toys, bunk beds, strollers/prams, decorative alcohol burners, window covering cords, and cigarette fires.

  • Infinity Cable Recall: About 52% has been replaced, meaning that more than 2,000 km remain in buildings.

  • Takata Airbag Recall: There are about 2.3 million cars still needing the bags replaced.