Business Advice

Calls for consumer law penalties to increase to $10 million … NSW government looks at Airbnb regulation … Watch out for this email scam impersonating ASIC

Emma Koehn /

After two years of research and consultation, Consumer Affairs Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ) has handed down its final report into Australia’s consumer law, recommending the maximum penalty a court could impose for breaches of the law be increased to $10 million per contravention, up from $1.1 million.

CAANZ began its review into the operation of Australian Consumer Law (ACL) in 2015 and after releasing an issues paper and interim report, the group has now finalised 19 legislative recommendations to deter big business in particular from avoiding their obligations. The report also recommends that individual fines for breaches be increased from $220,000 to $500,000.

The Productivity Commission has been watching the CAANZ analysis closely in its own review of the ACL.

NSW government looking at regulating Airbnb

The New South Wales government revealed yesterday it will implement new rules for homeowners wanting to let out spare rooms via platforms such as Airbnb, claiming it is looking for “common ground” for all affected by the short term letting economy.

Sky News reports the details are yet to be ironed out around the regulations, but the decision comes off the back of a parliamentary inquiry into the short-term letting market.

The inquiry recommended specific rules for Airbnb and similar platform that would allow homes to be leased unless doing so exceeded an “impact threshold”. The government is currently seeking community feedback, says NSW housing minister Anthony Roberts.

“It’s sensible to take time on a complex issue like this, which is why we are releasing an options paper next month,” Roberts said in a statement.

Businesses warned over latest ASIC email scam

A new attempt at loading malware onto Australian businesses’ computers has been spotted, with email protection software company MailGuard alerting users to a recent attempt at impersonating the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

The email appears similar to an ASIC company name renewal letter, and even leads users to a replica ASIC url. However, users are then asked to download a zip file supposedly containing their renewal letter. The linked file contains ransomware designed to lock users out of their files until a ransom is paid.

Businesses are advised to cast an eagle eye over suspicious looking emails, making sure the sender is genuine and web addresses are correct before downloading or opening any files.

When it comes to dodgy emails, cyber security expert and founder of IT support company Combo David Markus advised business owners last week to “never click the link”.

“The easiest thing to teach people to protect themselves is to not click on links in emails,” Markus told SmartCompany.

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Emma Koehn

Emma Koehn is SmartCompany's senior journalist.

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