The Productivity Commission, in its 2008 Review of Australia’s Consumer Policy Framework, recommended that a new generic, national consumer law should apply in all sectors of the economy. It further recommended that this generic law include national unfair contract terms (UCT) laws.
The UCT laws were implemented as laws of the Commonwealth and of Victoria and New South Wales on 1 July 2010 and now extend to all other States and Territories. The UCT laws are expressed to apply to all sectors of the economy, and to all businesses operating in those sectors in Australia which use standard form contracts in their dealings with consumers. The UCT laws apply to most financial products and financial services through the Australian Securities and Investments Act 2001 (ASIC Act). However, UCT laws do not currently apply to insurance contracts.
In this regard, this draft regulation impact statement has been released for public consultation by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, the Hon David Bradbury, in order to receive feedback on potential options for ensuring that consumers who purchase insurance have an equivalent level of protection as that which currently applies to other financial products and financial services.