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Australian Productivity Commission to look into right to repair


The Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has requested the Productivity Commission to examine the state of consumer's ability to repair faulty goods at reasonable prices. The need for the inquiry was cited due to the Competition and Consumer Act not capturing right to repair issues, and thereby only allowing "limited rights or protections" to repair, the inquiry's terms of reference state. "In many cases, suppliers do not impose any such restrictions on consumers with respect to the repair of products they supply. Instead, consumers or third parties are prevented from being able to repair the products due to a lack of access to necessary tools, parts or diagnostic software," the terms said. "As such, premature product obsolescence and a lack of competition in repair markets remain. The expense of repair and product design accelerate the transfer of consumer goods into waste."

Government publishes draft legislation for testing fintech products without licence


The Australian government has published draft legislation and regulations that will enable fintech businesses to test certain products and services for a limited period of time with retail and wholesale clients without having to obtain a financial services or credit licence. The purpose of the Australian Financial Services Licence and the Australian Credit Licence exemption regulations is to "create a'regulatory sandbox' to encourage and support the design and delivery of new financial and credit services that will benefit consumers and businesses", the government said in its exposure draft explanatory statement [PDF]. "The regulatory sandbox will help overcome regulatory burden and cost that may hinder businesses in developing innovative offerings," it added. "The regulatory sandbox will enable fintech firms to bring innovative services and products to market faster and at lower cost, while still providing for important consumer outcomes such as dispute resolution and consumer compensation arrangements." Both the Corporations Act and the Credit Act will be amended to enable eligible businesses to test, for a maximum period of 24 months, a wider range of fintech products and services, provided they meet certain consumer protection and disclosure conditions under the National Consumer Credit Protection (FinTech Sandbox Australian Credit Licence Exemption) Regulations 2017 and Corporations (FinTech Sandbox Australian Financial Services Licence Exemption) Regulations 2017.

Brexit: How 'no deal' could change tobacco warnings

BBC News

Graphic warnings on cigarette packets will be replaced by Australian versions in the event of a "no-deal" Brexit, it has emerged. Regulations have forced manufacturers to print images highlighting the dangers of smoking on all tobacco products sold in the UK since 2009. However, the government said in August they must change because the European Commission owned the copyright. Now it says the Australian government has agreed to supply alternatives. The change is one of many small ways in which a "no-deal" Brexit could affect British life, flagged up by government departments via "technical notices".

Banks warned of unhappy customers as tech giants join fintechs as competition


Capgemini has again warned Australian banks of the need to put the customer first, with traditional bank alternatives ready to scoop up unhappy punters. In the World Retail Banking Report 2018, Capgemini says that competition is no longer just coming from financial services startups, rather the big end of tech town is also making its presence known. "Australian banks are interested in collaborating with fintechs and bigtechs to make this happen, with 58 percent of banks beginning to think of their business as a platform. The bank of the future will look nothing like the bank of the past," Capgemini Australia and New Zealand Head of Financial Services Philip Gomm said. According to Capgemini, 32.3 percent of customers would consider turning to large technology firms for financial products and services, especially as younger, more tech-savvy customers are looking for options that suit them most.

ASX opens up DataSphere data science platform


The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) has opened its DataSphere platform to third parties. DataSphere is touted by the ASX as an open data science platform that supports analytics and machine learning. The selling point is that customers can access ASX and third party data to solve problems. It also allows customers to commercialise their data and analytics. ASX trading services executive general manager David Raper said the platform has significantly expanded its ASX datasets since launching last year, and now includes datasets from third parties.