Information standards regulate the type and amount of information provided to consumers about goods and services. They also set the form or manner of this information and give meaning to the information for you to use.
The Commonwealth Minister responsible for administering the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) can:
- make new information standards
- declare an existing state or territory standard as a national information standard.
The ACL recognises the following mandatory information standards:
- free range eggs labelling
- care labelling for clothing and textile products - labels should include appropriate instructions to help consumers care for the item
- ingredient labelling of cosmetics and toiletries - labels must state the ingredients to help consumers compare products, identify ingredients and avoid adverse reactions
- tobacco labelling – tobacco products must carry required health warnings which comprise graphic images, warning messages, explanatory messages and information messages.
The NSW Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation can also make information standards that apply only in NSW under the Fair Trading Regulation 2012, in addition to any standards under the ACL.
Current NSW-only information standards include:
- fuel price signs
- employment placement services
- funeral goods and services
- fibre content labelling of textile products
The fibre content labelling information standard requires textile products sold in NSW to comply with Australia/New Zealand standard AS/NZS 2622. Further, the form of a label in which any statement required for a textile product by AS/NZS 2622 must comply with AS/NZS 2392 and AS/NZS 2450.
In brief, there are two options for manufacturers in relation to the fibre content labelling of textile products that contain two or more different fibres:
- method A - the generic name of each fibre along with its relevant percentage in descending order of dominance against other fibre(s),
- method B - the generic name of each fibre in descending order of dominance (no fibre percentages required)
Australian governments can also regulate consumer goods or product-related services through mandatory safety standards. Go to the product and service safety page for more information.
- ensure goods and services you supply comply with relevant information standards, if sold within Australia
- be familiar with information standards relevant to those goods and services.
Example: A retailer sold imported dresses that were not properly labelled with instructions for washing, dry-cleaning and ironing. The retailer was fined because the labels did not contain all instructions required by the information standard.
Getting information standards
Information standards are made by the relevant Commonwealth Minister.
Businesses can buy information standards from the Standards Australia website or by calling 1800 035 822.
Supplying goods and services that do not comply with an information standard is an offence. The maximum penalties under the ACL are $1.1 million for a body corporate and $220,000 for an individual. Criminal penalties for the same amount can apply.
Breaching an information standard can also lead to injunctions, personal damages, compensatory orders, corrective advertising orders and adverse publicity orders.