Policy submissions


CHOICE's policy submissions and reports relating to our advocacy work, from 2014 to the present.

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As part of our consumer advocacy work, CHOICE conducts research, makes complaints to regulators and argues for changes to support consumers in submissions to government reviews and inquiries.

CHOICE reports

2017

November 2017 - Australian consumers in the travel market 2017

The fourth phase of the CHOICE Travel annual survey uncovers Australians' experience with how the travel industry handles consumer complaints, and continuing trends with flight and car hire problems.

August 2017 - Consumer Pulse: Australians' Attitude to Cost of Living 2014-2017

The CHOICE Consumer Pulse Report picks up on the trends in Australians’ cost of living concerns over the past three years.

July 2017 - Making private health insurance simpler

A report from CHOICE's national survey on information in the private health insurance market.

April 2017 - End the Sugar-Coating

A CHOICE report into added sugar labelling in Australia. The report found that added sugar labelling could help an individual remove 26 teaspoons of unnecessary sugar from their diet in a day and up to 38.3 kilograms of unnecessary sugar over the course of a year.

February 2017  - Australian consumers in the travel market 2016

The third phase of the CHOICE Travel project annual survey uncovers continuing trends with flight problems, among a range of other issues in the travel market, including research with stakeholders regarding accessible accommodation for Australians with disabilities.

2016

September 2016 - Who's on the line? Consumer experiences with unsolicited calls

We found that 89% of Australians are receiving unwanted calls, mostly from charities. The report calls for reform so that consumers can choose who contacts them. 

August 2016 - Project Superpower

We developed a strategy based on qualitative research to help people better engage with their superannuation.

July 2016 - Consumer Pulse: Australian attitudes to cost of living in 2016-2015

More than a third of Australians were doing it tough financially in 2016-2015 and were most worried about the cost of electricity and health costs. 

15 March 2016 - Consumer Experiences in the new car market

How common are lemon cars? And, are consumer protection laws working to protect people with problem cars? Our nationally representative research into the new car market found that too many people have problems and can't get them fixed. 

February 2016 - Australian consumers in the travel market 2015

The second phase of the CHOICE Travel project annual travel trends survey identifies issues ranging from flights, accommodation, travel insurance, car hire and customer satisfaction with each of Australia's major airlines.

2015

1 September 2015 - Research update on digital consumers

An update to our earlier research on consumers' attitudes and behaviour in accessing online content. We found that piracy rates dropped when consumers had access to affordable streaming services that delivered content at similar times to the rest of the world. 

September 2015 - Australian consumers in the travel market 2014

The first stage of research for the CHOICE Travel project aiming to provide a foundation for the project's next stages and create a better understanding of the issues facing Australian consumers in the travel industry.

July 2015 - Consumer Pulse: Australian attitudes to cost of living in 2015-2014

Over 2015-2014, consumers were most concerned about the cost of electricity, groceries and fuel and an estimated 3.1 million people lived off their credit card to get through to payday. 

2014

1 November 2014 - Digital consumers' attitudes and behaviour

Research report on the ways people are accessing online content, and their attitudes and behaviour. We found that consumers are frustrated by the lack of content availability in Australia and price disparities with international services. 

Public complaints

24 July 2017 - Complaint about remedies provided in the Takata airbag recall

A major CHOICE investigation into the Takata airbag recall found that some car manufacturers were replacing fault Takata airbags with like-for-like potentially faulty airbags. We made a formal complaint to the ACCC about this conduct, resulting in the establishment of a taskforce and prioritised ACCC investigation. 

7 March 2017 - Complaint against ticket resellers Viagogo and Ticketmaster Resale

We lodged a complaint to the ACCC about misleading and deceptive conduct, drip pricing and unfair terms and conditions in the ticket resale industry.

7 February 2017 - Freedom of Information request for mandatory safety reports

We lodged a Freedom of Information request with the ACCC, seeking access to the more than 10,000 mandatory product safety reports made by suppliers that are currently kept confidential. 

December 2016 - Fare Play? Terms and conditions in Australia's airline industry

We submitted this 'super complaint' to the ACCC where we asked for a market study into the airline industry and immediate enforcement of the Australian Consumer Law.

4 October 2016 - Camel milk's health claims

Camel Milk Victoria claimed that camel milk could aid in the treatment of tuberculosis and other diseases. Following our complaint to the ACCC, Camel Milk Victoria removed the claims from its website.

11 September 2016 - NSW Taxi Council

We complained to the ACCC about the NSW Taxi Council ad which stated that ride-sharing is no safer than hitch-hiking.

1 May 2016 - Thermomix product safety mass incident report 

We referred over 80 cases of Thermomix product failure and serious injuries to the ACCC. Consumers reported that Thermomix blamed customers when something went wrong and belittled or intimidated them when they made a complaint. 

​7 October 2015 - Kleenex flushable pipes

We complained to the ACCC following the CHOICE Shonky Awards regarding Kleenex 'flushable' wipes claims. Our testing found that wipes didn't break down like toilet paper and shouldn't be flushed. In December 2016, the ACCC initiated court proceedings.

2018 submissions

April 2018 - The Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry - Consumer Lending Hearing

CHOICE responded to the Royal Commission's questions on the consumer lending market, in particular mortgage brokers. We called for an end to conflicted remuneration and the introduction of a best interest duty to protect consumers from conflicted brokers. 

March 2018 - Competition in the Australian Financial System: Draft Report submission to the Productivity Commission

CHOICE responded to the Productivity Commission's Draft Report on Competition in the Australian Financial System. We called for reforms in the home loan-market, including abolishing Lender's Mortgage Insurance and introducing a 'best interest' duty for mortgage brokers.

February 2018 - The Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry

CHOICE drew on the feedback of over 2800 people who had experienced conduct at the hands of banks and financial service providers which fell below these people's standards and expectations. We have called for an end to bank self-regulation as a first response and for better equipped regulators to step in to prevent people being harmed.

January 2018 - Pre-approval of advertisements - the Therapeutic Goods Amendment Bill 2017

CHOICE raised concerns about the Bill's broad number of proposed permitted indications, many of which are not backed by scientific evidence, and the ceasing of the pre-approval process for advertising therapeutic goods. 

January 2018 - The Electoral Legislation Amendment (Electoral Funding and Disclosure) Bill 2017

CHOICE wrote to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters, to raise concerns about the broad scope of this Bill and the unreasonable administrative burden it will place on not-for-profit advocacy groups. 

January 2018 - The 2018-19 Federal Budget

The three key areas CHOICE highlighted in this years' pre-budget submission are private health insurance, housing and airline passengers' rights.  

2017 submissions

December 2017 - Consultation on self-regulation of the do not call register and spam regulation

Given poor levels of compliance and a poor track record in complaint handling, CHOICE raised serious concerns about the proposal to allow industry to self-regulate.

November 2017 - Submission to Treasury on the FinTech Sandbox Regulatory Licensing Exemptions

Consumer groups CHOICE, Consumer Action Law Centre and Financial Rights Legal Centre provided Treasury with comments on a Bill dealing with regulatory licensing exemptions for FinTech companies.

October 2017 - Supplementary submission to the ACCC for the New Cars Retailing Market Study

CHOICE provided the ACCC with additional case studies from consumers who had difficulty enforcing their rights to a remedy when something went wrong with their new cars.

October 2017 - Submission to the ACCC on the proposed recall notice for Takata airbags

CHOICE wrote to the ACCC in support of a proposed compulsory recall of Takata airbags in cars.

October 2017 - Draft Insurance in Superannuation Code of Practice

We wrote to the superannuation industry calling for much tighter time frames for closing down inactive accounts and improving insurance product design and affordability to ensure they match consumer needs.

September 2017 - Submission to the ACCC for the New Cars Retailing Market Study

CHOICE wrote to the ACCC about issues in the new car market, particularly for consumers who experience difficulties in having problems with their new cars remedied.

September 2017 - Superannuation: Assessing Competitiveness and Efficiency

We wrote to the Productivity Commission to share with them a sample of over 2,500 consumers on their experience with superannuation. Feedback included concern over high fees, multiple accounts and difficulty in switching funds.

August 2017 - Collection models for GST low value imported goods

CHOICE wrote to the Productivity Commission about collecting the GST on goods that cost less than $100 purchased from overseas online stores. CHOICE feels the tax should not be applied unless revenue raised outweighs collection costs. 

August 2017 - Banking Executive Accountability Regime (the BEAR)

CHOICE and Consumer Action have written the Treasury about how banking executives should be held accountable when the institutions they're responsible break the law or harm consumers. 

July 2017 - Tax Deductible Gift Recipient reform opportunities

CHOICE supports the work of other consumer organisations, including Community Legal Centres. These types of organisations often have DGR status. We wrote to Treasury to show our support for these organisations' advocacy activities, and tell Treasury there should be no reason to limit these activities through changes to the current DGR system.

July 2017 - Value and affordability of private health insurance and out of pocket costs

CHOICE collected over 1000 case studies of consumers' experiences in the private health insurance market and conducted a representative survey of private health insurance policy holders for this submission to the Senate's inquiry into private health insurance.

July 2017 - Mortgage broker remuneration 

CHOICE, Financial Rights Legal Centre, Consumer Action and Financial Counselling Australia worked together to look at how mortgage brokers are paid and what this means for consumers. We call for major changes to the way brokers are paid to protect consumers and for new standards so that brokers have to act in the best interests of their clients. 

June 2017 - Insurance in super: member engagement

The Insurance in Superannuation Working Group was looking for feedback on how it could help consumers understand what insurance they have within superannuation. We called on the industry to provide more simplified information, such as a Key Fact Sheet and commit to user testing to ensure information remains relevant and engaging.

May 2017 - Insurance in super: claims handling

The Insurance in Superannuation Working Group proposed changes to the way superannuation funds process life insurance claims. We said the entire industry needs to commit to improved claims handling time-frames and release data on how they perform.

April 2017 - Superannuation: Alternative default models - draft report

The Productivity Commission proposed reforming the way consumers are defaulted into superannuation funds. We said it was important to make changes which would cut down on the $150 million a year wastage caused by multiple default funds and to introduce consumer-led competition into fund selection.

April 2017 - Insurance in super: account balance erosion

The Insurance in Superannuation Working Group proposed changes to reduce the erosion of superannuation balances due to insurance premiums. We said the industry needs to improve the design of insurance so it better matches the needs of consumers at an affordable price. 

April 2017 - Changes to the GST Low Value Threshold 

The Senate Economics Committee asked what we thought of proposed changes to the GST on low-cost imported goods. We said we're worried that no one has assessed the impact on consumers or competition in retail markets.  

March 2017 - Consumer protections in the banking, insurance and financial sector

Consumers are getting a bad deal from the banking sector in big and small ways. We told the Senate Economics Committee that urgent action is needed to address the lack of competitive pressure, to lift standards for professionals and improve consumer support across the banking sector.

February 2017 - Inquiry into Australia's General Insurance Industry

Consumers are getting squeezed as premiums increase and policies become more restrictive. There is a lack of publicly available data to help consumers easily compare policies and help find more competitive offers. We need to find simple, well tested ways to improve consumer access to and understanding of insurance policy comparison data.

January 2017 - Australian Consumer Law enforcement and administration

Our consumer law may be strong in theory, but penalties are too low to be an effective deterrent to bad behaviour. We wrote to the Productivity Commission to call for higher penalties for breaches of the Australian Consumer Law. 

January 2017 - CHOICE's recommendations for the 2017-18 Federal Budget 

Consumer needs must be a priority for the next Federal Budget. We called for action to address poor value health insurance, high cost credit cards and a gap in consumer protections in the financial sector. 

January 2017 - Timesharing schemes

Timeshare schemes are sold using aggressive and likely misleading tactics. We argue that current exemptions and special protections for the timeshare industry need to be rolled back and replaced with stronger consumer protections to help people easily find out what they'll be getting for excessively high prices. 

2016 submissions

22 December 2016 - Objective of superannuation

Submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Economics calling for a clear objective for superannuation to improve policy making and fairness.

22 December 2016 - Proposed industry funding model for the Australian Securities and Investments Commission

CHOICE and the Consumer Action Law Centre supported the Federal Government's proposal to make the finance sector pay for to regulate their industry but the model must lead to better consumer outcomes and maintain ASIC's independence. 

19 December 2016 - Data availability and use

Submission to the Productivity Commission's final report regarding access to data. 

16 December 2016 - Indigenous consumers and unsolicited sales

Joint submission to Consumer Affairs Australia and New Zealand from CHOICE and nine other organisations regarding door-to-door sales in Indigenous communities.

9 December 2016 - Interim report for the review of the Australian Consumer Law

Submission to Consumer Affairs Australia and New Zealand regarding the review of the Australian Consumer Law. 

7 December 2016 - The telemarketing and research industry standard

Submission to the Australian Communications and Media Authority regarding nuisance calls and the Telemarketing and Research Industry Standard.

2 December 2016 - Applying GST to low value goods imported by consumers

We fear that proposed changes to the GST low value threshold (LVT) are a poorly designed and would restrict consumer access to goods without measurable economic benefit. 

December 2016 - Australian Consumer Law (Free Range Egg Labelling Standard) Information Standard

When consumers buy free range eggs they rightly expect that hens actually go outside, have room to move inside and that animal welfare practices are used. The Draft Standard would not require eggs labelled as 'free range' to meet these basic expectations and would let industry groups effectively mislead consumers looking for a good egg. 

29 November 2016 - Inquiry into the life insurance industry

Submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services in which we called for improved consumer protections in response to poor industry behaviour.

18 November 2016 - New car retailing industry market study

Submission to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission regarding the new car market and the Australian Consumer Law.

31 October 2016 – Superannuation alternative default models

Submission to the Productivity Commission regarding how consumers are allocated to new superannuation funds.

28 October 2016 - The proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

Submission to the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.

30 September 2016 - Misuse of market power

Submission to the Commonwealth Treasury regarding the Exposure Draft Competition and Consumer Amendment (Competition Policy Review) Bill 2016.

23 September 2016 - Superannuation competitiveness and efficiency

Submission to the Productivity Commission on how to make the superannuation system more competitive, efficient and better serve consumer needs.

9 September 2016 - Review of retail banking sales commissions and payments

Right now, banks hide exactly how they pay retail staff. We called for the banking sector to release as much information as possible about the commissions and sales payments that front-line staff and their manager's receive. 

9 September 2016 - Life Insurance Code of Practice

Submission to the Financial Services Council recommending improvements to the life insurance industry code of practice. 

30 August 2016 - Consumer law enforcement and administration

Submission to the Productivity Commission regarding the enforcement and administration of consumer law.

5 August 2016 - Data availability and use

Submission to the Productivity Commission regarding access to data.

July 2016 - ASIC's proposals to facilitate innovation in financial services

Innovation can increase options for consumers but there's no guarantee that innovation will lead to a net benefit. We strongly argued against reducing consumer protections for consumers of financial services by allowing new businesses to operate without a license (AFSL). 

30 June 2016 - Redesigning VET FEE-HELP

Submission to the Department of Education regarding consumers' experiences of FEE-HELP in vocational education and training.

21 June 2016 - Cutting credit card confusion

Submission to the Australian Treasury's 'Credit cards: improving consumer outcomes and enhancing competition' consultation paper.

1 June 2016 - Intellectual property arrangements

Submission to the Productivity Commission regarding intellectual property in response to its draft report.

May 2016 - Consumer protection and the economic empowerment of women in Papua New Guinea 

We partnered with an academic based in Papua New Guinea to support the development of stronger consumer laws in the Pacific. 

26 May 2016 - Issues paper for the review of the Australian Consumer Law

Submission to Consumer Affairs Australia and New Zealand regarding the review of the Australian Consumer Law. 

18 May 2016 - Corporations Amendment (Professional Standards of Financial Advisers) Bill 2016

CHOICE strongly supports lifting professional, ethical and education standards for financial advisers. We called for all advisers to have to pass a basic exam and for no exemptions for advisers selling poor-value timeshare schemes. 

April 2016 - Scrutiny of Financial Advice (SoFA) Inquiry: comments on the life insurance industry

CHOICE, Consumer Action and the Financial Rights Legal Centre worked together to explain to the major issues with life insurance to the Senate Economics Committee.

29 April 2016 - Private Health Insurance 

To help the ACCC prepare its report to the Senate, we told the regulator that consumers were frustrated by the poor quality information provided about private health insurance products and about dramatically increasing prices. 

8 April 2016 - Vehicle emissions discussion paper

Submission to the Federal Government regarding fuel efficiency and real-world testing procedures.

March 2016 - Causes and consequences of the collapse of listed retailers in Australia

Submission to the Senate Economics References Committee on gift cards and the collapse of listed retailers.

March 2016 - NSW Home Building Compensation Fund

Consumers need strong protections when they are building or repairing their home. We argued for a stronger domestic building insurance system for consumers in NSW. 

14 March 2016 - Comments on ASIC's Mortgage Broker Remuneration Review Research 

Mortgage brokers act for consumers but are paid by credit providers. ASIC's research into consumer outcomes is essential but needs to look closely at the nature of conversations or advice that brokers give to consumers. 

11 March 2016 - Trans-Pacific Partnership

Submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, investor-state dispute settlement and transparency in treaty negotiations.

7 March 2016 - Corporations Amendment (Life Insurance Remuneration Amendments) Bill 2016

The Bill being considered by the Senate Economics Committee would reduce, but not remove, commissions that financial advisers can still receive when selling life insurance. ASIC research is clear - when an adviser receives a commission it leads to poor customer outcomes. CHOICE supports the Bill but wants a long-term plan of action. 

February 2016 - CHOICE recommendations for the 2016-17 Federal Budget 

We called for the next Federal Budget to address poor value health insurance, to increase funding for the finance regulator and to fix a long-standing gap in consumer protections in the financial sector. 

February 2016 - Regulation of Agriculture, Issues Paper

Food labels are essential for consumers and need to give them the information they value the most to make informed decisions. We told the Productivity Commission that food labels need to be meaningful, consistent, accurate and designed for consumers, not industry. 

February 2016 - Country of Origin Food Labelling

CHOICE strongly supports the Federal Government's proposal to improve country of origin labels. We worked with over 26,000 campaign supporters to develop ten recommendations to improve food labels for consumers. 

12 February 2016 - Misuse of market power

Submission to the Commonwealth Treasury regarding competition law and misuse of market power.

2015 submissions

30 November 2015 - Intellectual property arrangements

Submission to the Productivity Commission regarding intellectual property. 

30 October 2015 - NSW consumer complaints register

Submission to NSW Fair Trading regarding the Consumer Complaints Register.

24 July 2015 - Free trade agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of the People's Republic of China (ChAFTA)

Submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties regarding investor-state dispute settlement in ChAFTA, a free trade agreement between Australia and China.

1 June 2015 - Tax discussion paper on GST Low-Value Threshold

Submission to the Federal Government's regarding lowering the GST low-value threshold. 

29 May 2015 - Review of the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989

Additional submission to the Commonwealth Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development regarding restrictions on importing cars.

26 May 2015 - Competition policy review final report

Submission to the Commonwealth Treasury regarding the Final Report of the Harper Review of Australia's competition policy framework.

16 April 2015 - Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015

Submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee regarding online copyright infringement.

23 March 2015 - Copyright notice scheme industry code

Submission to the Communications Alliance regarding the proposed Industry Code C653:2015, to set up a copyright infringement notice scheme.

27 February 2015 - The Commonwealth's treaty-making process

Submission to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee regarding the treaty-making process with particular reference to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.

2014 submissions

17 November 2014 - Competition policy review draft report

Submission to the Federal Government regarding the Harper Review of Australia's competition policy framework.

20 October 2014 - Review of the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989

Submission to the Commonwealth Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development regarding restrictions on importing cars.

29 August 2014 - Online copyright infringement public consultation

Submission to the Commonwealth Attorney-General's Department regarding online copyright infringement and access to digital content.

10 June 2014 - Competition policy review issues paper

Submission to the Federal Government regarding the Harper Review of Australia's competition policy framework.



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