$1 million in penalties for door-to-door sales: Midday roundup

The Federal Court has ordered Neighbourhood Energy and Australian Green Credits by consent to pay a total penalty of $1 million for illegal door-to-door selling practices following action by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

In the first case to be brought under the Unsolicited Consumer Agreement provisions of the Australian Consumer Law, the court declared that Neighbourhood Energy and Australian Green Credits engaged in multiple breaches of the ACL.

These breaches included a failure to leave the homes of consumers when requested, including by way of a ‘do not knock’ sign.

Woolworths chairman to step down

Leading businessman and long-serving Woolworths chairman James Strong will retire from his role at the supermarket chain’s helm in November.

Mr Strong has been on the Woolworths board for more than 12 years, and has served as its chairman for more than 11 years.

He will step down at the Woolworths annual general meeting to be held on November 22.

Mr Strong will be replaced by Woolworths director Ralph Waters, who has been on the company’s board since January 2011.

Sharemarket starts lower

The Australian stock market opened slightly lower after world markets reacted positively to the release of Spain’s 2013 budget supporting its austerity measures overnight.

At the official market open this morning, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index fell 0.27%, at 4,372.50 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index dropped 0.22%, to 4,393.10 points.

Gunns chief executive sacked by receivers

Gunns chief executive Greg L’Estrange has been sacked by the receivers put in charge of the collapsed group, according to The Australian.

Receivers KordaMentha have retained other senior managers pending a review of staffing while they also search for a buyer for the timber giant’s $2.3 billion Tamar Valley pulp mill.

L’Estrange had recently extended his contract at the timber company until the end of 2012, but was reportedly let go Wednesday evening.

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