21 November 2017

Call for submissions: Government to examine fees for paper bills

PROTECTING Australia's most vulnerable and disadvantaged consumers from excessive fees and charges will be the focus of a public consultation into paper billing says Minister for Small Business Michael McCormack.

The Paper Billing Consultation Paper released by Mr McCormack today is seeking submissions from consumers, businesses charging fees for paper bills and affected stakeholders.

"There has been a significant shift away from paper billing in recent years," Mr McCormack said.

"Yet not every Australian consumer has the means to access digital billing and it is unfair to punish them for being unable to do so.

"Better outcomes and protections are needed for those consumers who do not have the option to transition to digital bills and who can least afford to be penalised."

The consultation paper seeks submissions on several options to enhance consumer protections such as an outright ban on paper billing fees or limiting fees to actual costs incurred by business.

"The development of protection options has been led by the Federal Government since being agreed as part of the Consumers Affairs Ministers' extensive consumer protection agenda in August this year," Mr McCormack said.

"This Government has a strong track record of protecting Australia's most vulnerable and disadvantaged and we will continue to firmly back consumers and all hard-working Australians.

"A public awareness and education campaign will also be developed to assist consumers understand their rights under consumer law."

Interested parties are invited to make a submission on the consultation paper by lodging a submission online via the Treasury website or via mail to The Treasury, Langton Crescent Parkes ACT 2600.

Submissions close on Friday, 22 December 2017.