ACCC: To endorse high standard voluntary industry codes of conduct

ACCC: To endorse high standard voluntary industry codes of conduct

From: Ian D Johnston <ian.johnston§>
Date: Mon, 11 Aug 2003 19:34:41 +1000
Further to my message of 8 Dec 2003: Effectiveness of domain name service
regulation in Australia ... , the following ACCC media release, at first glance,
raises some interesting questions and opportunities for the Australian domain
name services industry (however defined) and consumers/registrants.

Ian Johnston



ACCC to Endorse High Standard Voluntary Industry Codes of Conduct

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will introduce a system of
endorsement for high quality voluntary industry codes of conduct, ACCC Chairman,
Mr Graeme Samuel, announced today.

"This initiative has the potential to provide effective industry codes of
conduct that deliver real benefits to businesses and consumers with the least
possible compliance cost placed on either", Mr Samuel told the Australian
Industry Group conference in Canberra.

Such codes avoided "heavy handed" regulation by government. Self regulation was
not always effective. Co-regulation was a suitable halfway measure.

"Effective codes result in increased compliance and reduced regulatory costs",
Mr Samuel said.

"By providing endorsement, the ACCC can work with industry groups who approach
us, to iron out any likely deficiencies in their code. The role of the
Commission will be to assist industry groups in ensuring the success of your

"The industry will need to demonstrate that its code is achieving its objectives
before the Commission will provide endorsement… But be aware, endorsement from
the Commission will be hard to obtain and easy to lose".

"ACCC endorsement should provide the consumer with some reassurance that the
business they are dealing with operates in a fair, ethical and lawful manner.
ACCC endorsement will provide the business operator with a degree of confidence
that they are applying best industry practice".

Mr Samuel warned that if the ACCC found a code was not achieving its objectives,
it would recommend changes to ensure essential criteria were met.

"If the industry fails to adopt these recommendations, the Commission will be
free to remove any endorsements of the code.

"Industry groups who receive our endorsement can advertise it but rest assured
the ACCC will advertise removal of your endorsement if the industry group …fails
to comply".

Mr Samuel said that the ACCC recognised that some codes of conduct might contain
anti-competitive elements.

These provisions would need to obtain authorisation from the ACCC before the
code could be considered for endorsement. Authorisation protects parties from
action under the Trade Practices Act 1974 when the anti-competitive provisions
or conduct generate greater offsetting public benefits.

Criteria that would be considered before a code was endorsed include ensuring
transparency of processes; independent complaints handling procedures; sanctions
for non-compliance, monitoring; and performance indicators.

Mr Samuel said the ACCC was currently involved with nearly 40 groups seeking to
develop or review codes of conduct.

Further details of the speech will be available from the ACCC website.
<> [116

Further information
Mr Graeme Samuel, Chairman, (02) 6243 1129 or mobile/pager 0408 335 555
Mr John Martin, Commissioner responsible for small business, (02) 6243 1130
Ms Lin Enright, Director, Public Relations, (02) 6243 1108 or 0414 613 520

MR 168/03
Received on Fri Oct 03 2003 - 00:00:00 UTC

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