23 August 2018

“Australians would be surprised to hear that it is not illegal to supply unsafe products in Australia, as it is in a range of places like the United Kingdom, European Union, Canada, Malaysia and Brazil. We think consumers should be able to expect the products they purchase aren’t going to cause them an injury.” ACCC 20 August 2018




The Turnbull Government is putting the safety and lives of Australians at risk by failing to prohibit what the ACCC says is the “alarming” supply of unsafe products.

At least 10 people a day are injured and require medical attention as a result of unsafe products. And there has been at least one recorded death with the deadly Takata airbags.

The Government is ignoring a golden opportunity to put this matter on the agenda of the next meeting of Ministers for Consumer Affairs on 31 August.

It is beyond belief that the Government is still developing a consultation paper on the proposal to introduce a general safety provision into the Australian Consumer Law - and as a result it is not on the meeting agenda. 

The proposal was supported 12 months ago by the same Consumer Affairs Ministers.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has lobbied for change and said on August 20:

“Ten injuries a day due to defective products is alarming, but we suspect this is just the tip of the iceberg as many more consumers don’t report injuries to the product suppliers at all.”

Earlier this month I called for urgent action on the recall of deadly Takata airbags, which have caused 24 deaths, and more than 300 injuries - including one death and one injury in Australia.

The Turnbull Government has dithered again on an important reform which the ACCC sees as urgent because faulty products continue to flood Australia and cause serious injury and harm to thousands of Australians, with more than 4.5 million items recalled by suppliers in the 2017-18 financial year.

The recalls include the deadly Takata airbags (22 dead, including one in Australia); infinity electrical cables (fire or electrocution risk); Samsung washing machines with faulty wiring (resulting in house fires); and Safetech hardware pool gate latches (which may lock in open position allowing access to pool areas resulting in drowning).

On August 2, I criticised the Turnbull Government’s glacial response to warnings about Takata airbags, dithering for more than six months before announcing a compulsory recall.

Now there are 1.8 million deadly Takata airbags that still need replacing as part of the compulsory recall that will run until 2020.