The unconscionable conduct and unfair contract terms provisions of the Australian Consumer Law do not adequately protect SMEs from becoming victims of price gouging or price squeezes, according to the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA).

The Australian Small Business White Paper launched last week by the IPA in conjunction with the IPA Deakin University SME Research Partnership, recommends changes to competition policy.

“In particular, section 46 of the Australian Consumer Law needs to be amended to strengthen the competitive process and the place of small business and SMEs in the competitive landscape.  We have recommended placing a prohibition on firms from using their market power to substantially lessen competition, and to remove the ‘take advantage’ element from the existing prohibition (s46(1)),” said IPA chief executive officer, Andrew Conway (also co-author and chair of the research partnership).

More details of the Australian Small Business White Paper can be found at