Setting up and running a business is a competitive and complex task governed by numerous regulations and statutes. Studies have shown that perhaps half of all new businesses fail within five years of starting.
Understanding some of laws that govern businesses can help avoid some common problems.
Who Regulates Businesses?
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission ("ASIC") is responsible for the administration of the following Commonwealth legislation:
- Corporations Act 2001 (Cth), which governs all types of companies, from incorporation through to winding up, as well as financial services;
- Business Names Registration Act 2011 (Cth)
- for laws relating to unconscionable conduct and consumer protection in relation to financial services (Division 2 of Part 2 of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 (Cth)); and
- laws relating to insurance and superannuation (s 12A(1) of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 (Cth)).
ASIC has a national Enforcement Directorate that has staff located in each region including South Australia. The Enforcement Directorate is responsible for investigating contraventions of the Corporations Act 2001(Cth) and the Corporations Law, other offence allegedly committed by directors or promoters of companies and contravention of laws relating to financial services, insurance and superannuation. Complaints by aggrieved members of the public may be made in writing or in person to any office of ASIC, via ASIC's InfoLine or email.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission ("ACCC") administers the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) which regulates the commercial operations of corporations and in particular such matters as warranties, price fixing, market manipulation and misleading conduct on the part of companies. The ACCC also conducts investigations and receives complaints about corporate type matters directly from members of the public.
Consumer and Business Services is a State Government department that also regulates the activities of companies in relation to fair trading.
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.