Australian business and environment laws

Australian Government and state and territory government legislation exists to protect consumers, the environment and the community, as well as to promote fair trading and competition. These laws govern how businesses interact with their suppliers, customers and other businesses. They also outline the rights of businesses and business owners when conflicts arise.

Further information on legislation governing business activity in Australia is provided below.

Competition laws

Australia has a national statutory framework to ensure that trading is fair for businesses and consumers. This framework is administered and enforced by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

In addition to Australian Government legislation, state and territory laws govern consumer protection. A fair trading office in each state or territory provides advice on business rights and obligations.

For more information, see Fair trading laws. For particular state or territory information, please contact the relevant jurisdiction or see business.gov.au: Fair trading laws in your state and territory.

Consumer laws

The Australian Consumer Law (ACL) provides regulations on unfair contract terms, consumer rights guarantees, product safety laws, unsolicited consumer agreements, lay-by agreements and penalties, and other areas.

For further information see Australian Consumer Law.

Product liability regulation

Australia has a national statutory framework to regulate product safety and information standards. These standards are designed to ensure harmful products are not marketed in Australia. The standards are enforced by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

State and territory government fair trading offices are also involved in the enforcement of product safety rules. The role of state and territory offices is primarily to assist consumers.

For further information see product safety & standards. For particular state or territory information, please contact the relevant jurisdiction.

Environmental legislation

The Australian Government, state and territory governments, and local governments jointly administer environmental protection.

Australian Government legislation governs the process of assessment and approval of national environmental and cultural concerns.

State and territory environmental protection legislation apply to specific business activities.

For further information, see business.gov.au: Environmental legislation.

Privacy laws

Australia has national privacy legislation, overseen by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC), that regulates how businesses can collect, access, and store personal information and communication. There are specific requirements on the management of sensitive information, such as medical records.

The legislation applies to a number of different activities and sectors. Australian states and territories also have individual privacy laws that may apply in the workplace and affect doing business in each jurisdiction.

For further detail on privacy laws in Australia, see OAIC: Privacy law.