Now that the dust has settled, it is prudent we provide an update on the effects of the new button battery standard and SIFA’s response on behalf of the shooting industry.
SIFA has been contacted by many firearms dealers across Australia seeking clarification on what products can and cannot be sold. The Consumer Goods (Products Containing Button/Coin Batteries) Safety Standard 2020 mandates that all button battery products MUST undergo testing to demonstrate compliance with one of the listed standards before it can be sold in Australia. We must stress, this is MANDATORY.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) have also made it clear that all levels of the supply chain are legally responsible for ensuring that products that are being sold meet the requirements of the standard. It is important that dealers recognise that the onus is on them to ensure that the products they are selling are compliant.
Failure to comply can result in legal action and penalties, with fines of up to $10 million for businesses and $500,000 for individuals who are found to be in breach of the law.
SIFA is pleased to advise that our members, the major importers, and wholesaler distributors of firearms and related accessories, were quick to respond to the requirements of the new standard and have now returned products to the market that have been tested and found compliant.
What is SIFA doing?
SIFA has commenced the process of presenting a business case for a formal industry-wide exemption on the grounds that the application of button battery standards to firearm accessories, is a disproportionate and misdirected response to the risk which the legislation seeks to mitigate.
This exemption process will require a change to the legislation and will likely take 24 months or longer. We must highlight from the outset that we are not confident this will be successful.
We are also in the process of investigating what the ACCC will require to prove compliance with the standards through the testing of specific products that is completed at the time of manufacture. Central to this, SIFA will be looking to develop an Australian shooting industry code of practice testing regime, that takes into account the specific use of our products and limits the cost of seeking compliance, as the testing regimes specified, damages or destroys the product as part of the process.
SIFA has also conducted a post-mortem as to why the industry was blindsided by the application of the new legislation, to ensure that it does not happen again. This has led us to ask further questions around what considerations (if any) were given to the unique nature of our products, and what it means for our industry to prove future compliance.
SIFA has made a formal representation to the ACCC seeking clarification on several considerations including:
- How non-compliant goods which are imported with the intention of re-exporting those items to customers in international jurisdictions are to be treated by the regulator.
- What specific action will be taken at the border to safeguard our industry against non-compliant commercial imports, and non-compliant private imports.
- How the standards apply to the commercial trade of second-hand goods.
- How the standards apply to products that can be marketed and supplied to recreational, commercial or government purchasers.
- What protections are available for industry against non-compliant grey market or parallel imported items.
As we continue to work through the complexities of the standard and receive answers to our formal response, we will continue to provide industry updates so that you can all ensure that you remain compliant.