8 December 2023

Government’s response to the ACCC’s major competition and consumer recommendations for digital platforms


Joint media release with
The Hon Michelle Rowland MP
Minister for Communications

Today, the Government has published its response to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s September 2022 Digital Platform Services Inquiry interim report.

The Government recognises the extensive work by the ACCC throughout the Digital Inquiry, and agrees that stronger measures are warranted to protect consumers and businesses from harms on digital platforms. 

In the report, the ACCC observed that “Australian consumers and small businesses often find it hard to achieve quick and easy resolution of complaints and disputes with digital platforms.” They highlighted the suspension or termination of a user’s accounts, and scam content, harmful apps and fake reviews as areas where disputes can arise.

As a result, further work will be undertaken by Treasury and the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts, to consider options to improve the dispute resolution processes available to users of digital platforms. As a first step, the Government is calling on members of the digital platforms industry to develop voluntary internal dispute resolution standards by July 2024.

The ACCC also presented a strong case for the development of a new ex ante digital competition regime to address anti‑competitive behaviours of certain digital platforms. Treasury will consult on the design of a potential ex ante digital competition framework in 2024.

This response complements other major consumer‑first work the Albanese Government has underway.

The Government is fighting back against scammers through the new, world‑leading National Anti‑Scam Centre, and is currently consulting on mandatory industry anti‑scam codes.

In 2022, the Government passed laws to ban unfair contract terms, and is considering options to address unfair trading practices.

The Albanese Government is on the side of Australian consumers, and is committed to ensuring Australia has the right regulations to be a leading digital economy.

The full response is on Treasury’s website.

Quotes attributable to the Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Financial Services, the Hon Stephen Jones MP:

“We want Australians to have confidence that they can use digital platforms safely, and that they’ll be heard by the platform if something goes wrong.

The steps we are taking here build on the work that the Albanese Government has already done to put Australian consumers and small businesses first after a decade of neglect.”

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Communications, the Hon Michelle Rowland MP:

“In an increasingly digital landscape, protecting consumers and businesses from online harms is of vital importance.

This work builds on measures the Albanese Government is taking to strengthen regulatory frameworks for digital platforms, including our strong action on scams and proposals to improve transparency of digital services.”