A limited number of consumer products have a permanent or interim ban that prohibits their supply in the Australian market. Prior to 1 January 2011, these bans were made under Commonwealth, state and territory legislation. Under the ACL, which was introduced on 1 January 2011, there is a single national approach to making interim bans and permanent bans on certain consumer goods or product-related services.
A ban is made to protect consumers when evidence shows a risk of serious injury, illness or death associated with a product. Manufacturers, importers, wholesalers, distributors, retailers and hire companies face penalties if they trade in banned products inside Australia.
Many general consumer products have voluntary standards that provide manufacturers and other suppliers with particular guidance for building safety features and messages into products. Sometimes they also include specific testing procedures to ensure products perform according to certain safety standards. Not all products have voluntary standards. There is no law that says manufacturers, importers, wholesalers, distributors, retailers and hire companies must use voluntary standards.
Standards making bodies, such as Standards Australia, develop voluntary safety and information standards. Voluntary standards are a type of quality assurance and self-regulation that suppliers may use to ensure product safety. Some industry associations and businesses include compliance with voluntary standards as a condition for membership. It is illegal for suppliers to state that their products meet a voluntary standard when they do not.
For more information about voluntary standards, visit:
A limited number of products are covered by mandatory safety and/or information standards.
A mandatory standard is made to protect consumers when evidence shows a risk of serious injury, illness or death associated with a product. Manufacturers, importers, wholesalers, distributors, retailers and hire companies may face penalties if they supply products inside Australia that fail to meet requirements outlined in a mandatory standard.
The ACL creates a single national approach to making safety standards for consumer goods and product-related services. For further detail see the mandatory standards page.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) manages a national internet database at www.recalls.gov.au for product recalls for all consumer products. The Recalls Australia website provides information to help suppliers quickly remove unsafe goods from shops and notify relevant government authorities. It also provides information on past and current recalls to consumers and enables them to set up automatic alerts for recalls about particular products.