The ACCC is fast-tracking the community complaints process for corporate price gouging.

Consumer and community advocacy groups will soon be able to swiftly escalate evidence-backed complaints of corporate gouging and predatory pricing for investigation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). 

This move, part of a broader initiative by the Albanese government, seeks to curb inflationary practices by corporations leveraging their market power.

Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities, and Treasury, Andrew Leigh, has highlighted the importance of the reform, saying it would allow “designated consumer and small business advocates” to bring significant systemic market issues directly to the ACCC's attention. 

This new mechanism is set to cut down the time taken for regulatory responses, with the ACCC required to consider and publicly address complaints within a tight 90-day window.

The measure comes in response to long-standing frustrations over the slow pace of regulatory interventions, often bogged down by extensive legal battles. 

Notably, the scheme, which is expected to kick off in July, will enable approved advocacy groups to lodge “designated complaints” about practices that significantly impact consumers or small businesses. 

This approach not only offers a direct line to the regulator but also establishes a formal recognition of the pivotal role these groups play in identifying and combating market abuses.

The ACCC has welcomed the introduction of this legislation, with Chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb expressing optimism about its potential to enhance the commission's responsiveness to critical market issues. 

This legislative move aligns with similar schemes in the United Kingdom and Canada, reflecting a growing international consensus on the need for proactive regulatory frameworks to protect consumers and ensure fair trading practices.