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Unfair contract term protections

13 December 2019

Joint media release Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business and Mr Michael Sukkar MP, Assistant Treasurer

The Morrison Coalition Government is committed to protecting small businesses from unfair contract terms (UCT).

Following the March 2019 review of the current protections, the Government has today announced the commencement of public consultation on options to further enhance UCT protections.

Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, said the consultation will explore options to strengthen the existing protections for small businesses from unfair terms in standard form contracts.

“Small businesses often lack the resources to identify unfair terms and to engage in negotiations over those terms. By strengthening the UCT protections, small businesses will get a fairer go,” Minister Cash said.

Assistant Treasurer, Michael Sukkar MP, said the consultation will seek feedback on a range of options, including making UCTs illegal, attaching penalties for breaches, and broadening the coverage of small business contracts.

“The changes have already improved protections for small business in some industry sectors, however, there is concern that UCTs are still being used in standard form contracts, highlighting the need for stronger deterrents to be built into the protections,” Minister Sukkar said.

“The consultation also seeks views on whether any enhanced protections for small business contracts should also be extended to consumer and insurance contracts, to ensure consistency in the operation of the protections.”

Submissions will be open until 16 March 2020. For more information or to lodge a submission, stakeholders can visit; https://consult.treasury.gov.au/consumer-and-corporations-policy-division/enhancements-to-unfair-contract-term-protections