Information standards regulate the type and amount of information provided to consumers about goods and services. These standards also dictate the way this information is presented on product packaging and labels.
Businesses selling goods and services in Australia must ensure the goods/services they supply comply with the relevant information standards.
Failing to comply with information standards is against the law.
The maximum penalty for each offence is $500,000 for an individual.
Body corporates can be charged whichever is greater:
- $10 million, or
- three times the value of the benefit received, or
- 10 per cent of annual turnover in the preceding year (if the Court cannot determine the benefit obtained from the offence).
See an 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.
Mandatory information standards in Australia
Australian Consumer Law includes mandatory information standards for:
- free range egg labelling
- care labelling for clothing and textile products (with appropriate instructions to help consumers care for the item)
- ingredient labelling of cosmetics and toiletries (to help consumers compare products, identify ingredients and avoid adverse reactions)
- tobacco labelling (with required health warnings including graphic images, warning and explanatory messages and other information).
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.
Additional mandatory information standards in NSW
Under the Fair Trading Act 1987, information standards can be made for goods and services that only apply in NSW.
These are in addition to any standards under Australian Consumer Law. A maximum penalty of 50 penalty units applies for non-compliance.
Current NSW-only information standards include:
- fuel price signs
- employment placement services
- funeral goods and services
- fibre content labelling of textile products.
Have a problem?
Who enforces Australian Consumer Law?
The following agencies enforce provisions relating to consumer goods and services:
- Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)
- NSW Fair Trading, and
- other State and Territory consumer protection agencies.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is responsible for financial products and services.