AUSBUY believes that the legislation and enforcement governing labels in Australia is inadequate. Research conducted by Ausbuy would suggest that Australian consumers wish to support Australian companies and are concerned about the problems which they find in identifying truly Australian products. Ausbuy believes that the labels should indicate whether the product is produced in Australia by an Australian owned company.
At this point in time the Ausbuy logo is the only identification which appears on a label and identifies the product as being produced by an Australian company. We would welcome the support of government in making such identification mandatory, and would support any plans which they have to enable the Australian consumer to make an informed choice.
Ausbuy also believes the ACCC should be stricter on labelling infringements. At present it often takes Ausbuy, or a concerned member of the public, to point out to the ACCC when a formerly Australian owned company have not updated their labelling. In the case of The Natural Confectionery Company (TNCC), it took more than one year and three letters from Ausbuy for the ACCC to ask TNCC to remove “proudly Australian owned” from their packaging. In the meantime millions of consumers had been duped. This change of packaging should happen within a matter of weeks of the ownership transfer.
Foreign owned companies should not be allowed to mislead consumers through the use of Australian iconography on their packaging. In the case of Heinz Baked Beans, this is the use of the map of Australia, and it presents the product as Australian when in fact it is not. The Australian flag is often used to promote the product as Australian whilst being produced by a foreign owned company, often offshore. Consumers see the flag and choose the product, believing their purchase will leave profits in this country and support Australian jobs. The opposite is often the case. This is blatant misleading by multinational companies and should be addressed. To control the misuse of national symbols, the Federal Government should register them and control their use.
The public want clear and concise labelling to allow them to make purchasing decisions that are important to them. At present the labelling laws do not reflect this. It is not helpful to our manufacturers and farmers to present the public with many different labels that claim different things, none of which are regulated. Ausbuy would like the government to act in introducing stricter legislation in terms of labelling and identifying country of ownership. In the meantime the only way to identify truly Australian products and services is through Ausbuy’s logos and the Ausbuy Guide.