Thursday, 12 November 2020
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) three children have died since 2013 and 20 children are hospitalised each week in Australia after swallowing button batteries,
(ii) the Australian Football League issued an urgent product safety recall following the 2020 Grand Final for 31,000 LED wristbands powered by button butteries that were not properly secured, representing a significant risk of harm,
(iii) mandatory safety standards only exist for around 44 product types in Australia and none exists which covers button batteries,
(iv) the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is notified of about 650 consumer product recalls annually but only half of the affected products are returned, amounting to 1.7 million potentially hazardous recalled products remaining in homes, and
(v) estimates show there are around 780 deaths and 52,000 injuries per year from unsafe consumer products in Australia, costing at least $5 billion to the economy;
(b) acknowledges the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) is reactive in the absence of a general product safety provision;
(c) recognises a general product safety provision in the ACL would place a clear onus on sellers to ensure the safety of products they sell to Australians; and
(d) calls on the Federal Government to introduce a general product safety provision in the ACL.
The consumer affairs forum last week endorsed a proposal for new information standards to improve product safety for consumer goods that contain button batteries, as well as button batteries themselves, for consideration by the Commonwealth minister later this year as part of a package of instruments to address safety concerns associated with button batteries. Treasury continues to consult on options to enhance the product safety framework.
Question agreed to.