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An Eye on Competition

Monday 24 July 2017

When it comes to risk and compliance, are you thinking of competition and consumer protection?

In 2012, Delia Rickard was appointed to the position of Deputy Chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). She will also be on the regulatory panel for the
21st Annual GRC2017 Conference in October.

Rickard has been dealing with consumer protection for a long time. Before she took on her current role at the ACCC, she held a series of senior roles at the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) that all revolved around consumer protection.

Her particular interests are in product safety, consumer protection compliance, and enforcement and scam protection.

Enforcement priorities
This year, the ACCC has announced a number of clear enforcement priorities, which are:

  • unfair contract terms;
  • cartels; and
  • misconduct in health, construction and agriculture.

In February, they announced that because of concerns of anti-competitiveness in the construction industry, a new commercial construction investigation unit within the ACCC would be established.

Concerning the financial industry, there has also been the announcement of a financial competition unit to look more deeply into the competitiveness in the financial sector.

Delia Rickard, Deputy Chair,

Cartel conduct
Late last year, GRC Professional spoke with Bronwyn Gallacher, Managing Director of CCL Consultants Pty Ltd, who spoke at the GRC2016 Conference about cartel conduct—a topic she believed generally was not getting a lot of emphasis in compliance frameworks.

“No matter what industry you are in, or what level of the organisation you are in, these provisions apply to your organisation and to you as an individual, and that’s why it is essential that training is implemented and people understand what we call corporate liability, and what we call personal liability,” Gallacher said.

Beware of scams
Rickard in particular has been quoted in the media for cautioning against scams.

Earlier this year, it was announced that the competition watchdog will work with Airbnb and Stayz to tackle scammers who have been using their platforms to get people to pay for accommodation that doesn’t exist.

Last year, the ACCC reported 166 scam complaints, with an average loss of $2231 per person. 

Rickard said the warnings about potential scams should be placed prominently and not hidden behind multiple clicks.

She also commented on recent phishing scams:

We’re so used to providing our personal information when we sign up for services over the phone or shop online that sometimes, we don’t think twice about giving it out.

Other regulators attending the October panel will be ASIC, the Australian Prudential and Regulation Authority (APRA), the Australian Tax Office (ATO) and the Australian Transactions and Reporting Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC).