ACCC deals with 50 carbon tax complaints in June quarter

COMPLAINTS about the Federal Government's carbon pricing scheme all but dried up in the June quarter, with Australia's consumer watchdog dealing with less than one inquiry per day for the period.

In its quarterly report released on Thursday, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission revealed it dealt with just 50 carbon tax-related complaints and inquiries in the three months to June, bringing the total to more than 3000 in the scheme's first 12 months.

After receiving almost 2500 complaints in the scheme's first three months - an obvious reflection of the anger and confusion surrounding its implementation - there has been a dramatic drop in the past three quarters.

The ACCC received 340 carbon tax complaints in the final three months of 2012 and 120 in the March quarter.

Not surprisingly the energy sector accounts for the majority of carbon tax-related inquiries (40%), followed by the refrigerant gases and landfill sectors.

Despite the drop in carbon tax inquiries, ACCC staff were still busy in the June quarter.

It received more than 52,000 complaints and inquiries from businesses and consumers, a 6% increase on the March quarter, and ordered the removal of almost 693,000 unsafe and faulty products in 118 product safety recalls - more than double the number in the first three months of the year.

The ACCC was also active in the business sector, pre-assessing 87 potential mergers and reviewing 22 in the June quarter, including Virgin Australia acquiring a 60% stake in Tiger Airways.

Notable court-awarded penalties following ACCC action included $1.35 million against Japanese cable supplier Viscas Corporation for bid rigging and price fixing conduct, and $1.55 million against AGL Sales Pty Ltd for illegal door-to-door sales practices.