Association of Consulting Architects Australia has welcomed the Australian Government’s initiative to investigate the inclusion of unfair terms in contracts.

The Treasury is undertaking a consultation process on behalf of Consumer Affairs Australia and New Zealand to investigate the use of unfair terms in standard contracts. This action intends to provide better protection for small business and also allows them to have a say during the consultation phase.

The Australian Government’s action follows a growing awareness of the inclusion of unfair contract terms in standard form contracts involving small businesses, to the detriment of this segment.

The Government is exploring the possibility of extending the law protecting consumers against unfair contract terms, to also cover small business. This would mean businesses offering standard form contracts to small businesses would have to comply with the new law that would also allow a court to cancel out unfair terms.

By conducting a fairly extensive consultation process, the Treasury aims to seek information on examples of unfair terms, as well as feedback on what particular business types and contract types should be covered by the proposed protection.

While the ACA will be making a submission to this consultation, it urges members to also contribute directly by taking a short survey, providing feedback on the website or lodging a formal submission.

The deadline for all feedback is 1 August 2014. Detailed information about the review and consultation is available on the Treasury website.