Assistant Treasurer steps down amid ICAC probe; ACCC releases product safety guide for online businesses: Midday Roundup

Assistant Treasurer Arthur Sinodinos has stood aside temporarily from his role, as his former company is under investigation by the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

Australian Water Holdings is being probed by the ICAC over a contract with the state-owned Sydney Water Corporation in early 2012.

The ICAC hearing on Monday heard claims Sinodinos, a former AWH director and NSW Liberal Party treasurer, stood to make up to $20 million from the deal.

Yesterday afternoon Sinodinos announced he would step down from the frontbench for the duration of the inquiry.

“I do not want this sideshow to be an unnecessary distraction to the important work of the government, which I am proud to serve,” he says.

“While this process is underway I will therefore be standing aside as Assistant Treasurer.”

Prime Minister Tony Abbott supported Sinodinos in his decision.

ACCC releases product safety guide for online businesses

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has released a product safety guide for online businesses.

The guide comes in response to the growth in online shopping. While customers can check the ingredients and safety warnings for products in store, it is difficult to do this online unless the information is displayed along with the product.

ACCC deputy chair Michael Schaper said in a statement the online environment creates unique challenges for product safety requirements.

“The ACCC is concerned that some online sellers, particularly those based overseas, may not be aware that all businesses supplying to Australian consumers have the same obligations under the Australian Consumer Law,” he says.

Shares drop on open

Aussie shares have opened down this morning, following loses on Wall Street overnight.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark was down 47.7 points to 5307.9 at 11:59am AEDT. Overnight the Dow Jones closed down 114.02 points, dropping 0.70% to 16,222.17.


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