The current (2009) Unit Pricing Regulations are a key element establishing unit pricing in Australia and unless the Commonwealth Government acts quickly consumers will loose a valuable piece of consumer legislation.

Consumers SA (CSA) has written to the Hon Michael Sukkar MP Minister for Housing and Assistant Treasurer and Vickie Chapman SA Attorney General expressing concern that the Trade Practices (Industry Codes – Unit Pricing) Regulations 2009, will, by virtue of the sunsetting of legislative Instruments legislation, lapse on 1 October 2019.

Unit Pricing facilitates informed consumer choice and enhances price transparency by providing consumers with the unit price (price per unit of measure) of products sold in fixed measure packages.

Unit pricing is one of many pieces of information that assist consumers in forming an opinion as to which purchase to make. The multitude of pack sizes for grocery items makes it difficult for consumers (particularly vulnerable consumers) to know the quantity in relation to the price.

In February 2019 CSA made a written submission to the review of Trade Practices (Industry Codes – Unit Pricing) Regulations 2009 being undertaken by Treasury. CSA’s submission recommended improvements that needed to be made to ensure compliance with the Code and make it easier to use including:

  • increasing pro-active enforcement including using the new international standard ISO 21041:2018, Guidance on unit pricing to define prominence and legibility

  • increasing consumer education by ACCC and retailers on how to use unit pricing effectively

  • placing emphasis on font type and size, colour and contrast, white space, angled shelving for low and high shelves on shelf displays and on-line so that the unit price could be more easily read by consumers particularly the elderly and those with disabilities

  • expanding the code to include pharmacies, hardware stores and grocery area of service stations

  • providing the ACCC with the power to issue infringement notices for non-compliance.

CSA urges the government, as a minimum, to renew the code while considering the review and to inform CSA of its plans in relation to the Trade Practices (Industry Code-Unit Pricing) Regulations 2009.

CSA also urges members and others who are concerned that the legislative requirement to show unit prices to also write to the Hon Michael Sukkar MP <minister.sukkar@treasury.gov.au> .

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis