{{ propApi.closeIcon }}
Our industry
Our industry $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Economic research & forecasting Economics Housing outlook Tailored market research Economic reports & data Inspiring Australia's building professionals Business & digital Products & innovation Projects HOUSING Online The only place to get your industry news Media releases Member alerts Submissions See all
Business support
Business support $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Become an apprentice host Hire an apprentice Why host a HIA apprentice? Apprentice partner program Builder & manufacturer program Industry insurance Construction legal expenses insurance Construction works insurance Home warranty insurance Tradies & tool insurance Planning & safety solutions Building & planning services How can safety solutions help you? Independent site inspections Solutions for your business Contracts Online HIA Tradepass HIA SafeScan Advertise jobs Trusted support & guidance Contracts & compliance support Professional services Industrial relations Member savings Toyota vehicles Fuel savings Handy pay See all
Resources & advice
Resources & advice $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Building it right Building codes Australian standards Getting it right on site See all Building materials & products Concrete, bricks & walls Getting products approved Use the right products for the job See all Managing your business Dealing with contracts Handling disputes Managing your employees See all Managing your safety Falls from heights Safety rules Working with silica See all Building your business Growing your business Maintaining your business See all Other subjects COVID-19 Getting approval to build Sustainable homes See all
Careers & learning
Careers & learning $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
A rewarding career Become an apprentice Apprenticeships on offer Frequently asked questions Study with us Find a course to suit you Qualification courses Learning on demand A job in the industry Get your builder's licence Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Find jobs
HIA community
HIA community $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Join HIA Sign me up How do I become a member? What's in it for me? Mates rates Get involved Become an award judge Join a committee Partner with us Our initiatives GreenSmart Kitchen, bathroom and design hub Get to know us Our members Our people Our partners Support for you Charitable Foundation Mental health program
Awards & events
Awards & events $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Awards Awards program People & Business Awards GreenSmart Australian Housing Awards Awards winners Regional Award winners Australian Housing Award winners 2023 Australian Home of the Year Enter online Industry events Events in the next month Economic outlook National Conference Events calendar
HIA products
HIA products $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Shop @ HIA Digital Australian Standards Contracts Online Shipping & delivery Purchasing T&Cs See all Products Purchase NCC 2022 Building codes & standards Economic reports Hard copy contracts Guides & manuals
About Contact Newsroom
$vuetify.icons.faMapMarker Set my location Use the field below to update your location
Change location
{{propApi.text}} {{region}} Change location
{{propApi.successMessage}} {{region}} Change location

$vuetify.icons.faPhone1300 650 620

Business to business transactions and competition

This policy sets out HIA's position on unfair contract legislation as it applies to business arrangements.

HIA’s Position statement

  1. The current competition and independent contractor laws are adequate
    • HIA supports effective competition laws.
    • Effective competition laws should be focused on:
      • improving productivity
      • increasing market efficiency; and
      • delivering better prices for consumers.
    • The Competition and Consumer Legislation comprehensively regulates business dealings and provides protection for businesses with prohibitions on misleading conduct, anti-competitive conduct and unconscionable conduct.
    • The Independent Contractors Act 2006 appropriately regulates unfair contract terms for subcontractors in the building and construction industry.
  2. Freedom of contract and limited government intervention
    • Parties should be free to contract and agree upon their own terms and conditions, including the terms and conditions of payment. This will ensure the efficient operation of the market for all businesses operating in the residential construction industry.
    • Businesses are established as part of the market economy, and with the expectation of their dealings being subject to the principles of ‘buyer beware’. Businesses recognise there are risks involved with all commercial activities and that it is up to them to assess these risks before proceeding.
    • Only where there is an overwhelming case for regulation, such as clear evidence of market failure, should governments interfere in commercial arrangements between contracting parties.
    • Introducing laws that ‘protects’ one business at the expense of another is at odds with a competitive market, is counterproductive and will aggravate the difficulties faced by business.
  3. It is inappropriate to regulate businesses via a consumer orientated law
    • Business owners are not ‘consumers’.
    • Businesses are more aware of their legal rights, understand the consequences of entering into contracts and are generally more sophisticated than consumers.
    • Businesses have the capacity to make an informed decision based an assessment of risks, including trading risk against return.
  4. HIA does not support laws or regulations that impose unnecessary and inappropriate costs in business to business transactions
    • This would result in direct costs of doing business naturally increasing.


  • Unfair contract laws are part of the consumer protection framework and attempt to remedy an imbalance between parties, based on the perceived strength of the bargaining power of businesses versus the public. Under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL), an unfair term is defined as one that causes an imbalance in the parties’ rights and obligations that go beyond what is reasonably necessary to protect the legitimate interests of the party relying on the clause.
  • The ACL applies to standard form contracts, including contracts for gym memberships, telecommunication agreements and home building contracts. It is proposed businesses be treated as consumers too.
  • There are a number of arguments against extending consumer protection rights to business dealings.
    • Intruding in commercial contracting undermines the principle that businesses should be free to contract with whom they choose and be bound by the terms they agree to.
    • It increases the unnecessary compliance burden (red tape) on businesses.
    • All states and territories have already introduced security of payments laws to protect the cash flow of ‘down the chain’ contracting parties.
    • Unconscionable conduct laws already provide protection for exploitation of the ‘special’ disadvantage of parties in commercial relationships.

Policy endorsed by HIA National Policy Congress: May 2014; Re-endorsed 2019; Amended 2021

Share with your network:
More articles on:
{{ tag.label }} {{ tag.label }} $vuetify.icons.faTimes
Find the latest expert advice, guides and much more!
HIA Advocacy
View all $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
22 Feb
Inquiry into the Help to Buy Bill and Help to Buy Consequential Provisions Bill 2023

HIA provided a submission into the Help to Buy Bill 2023 and the Help to Buy (Consequential Provisions) Bill 2023, herein referred to as the Help to Buy Bills.

22 Feb
2024-2025 Northern Territory Pre-Budget Submission

HIA submitted the Northern Territory pre-budget submission to the NT Chief Minister.

21 Feb
Future of local government review

On 20 January 2024 HIA made a submission to the Tasmanian Government on the Future of Local Government Final Report.

20 Feb
Proposed amendments to the Directors Determinations on bushfire hazard areas

On 19 January 2024 HIA made a submission to the Tasmanian Government on proposed amendments to the Director's Determinations on bushfire hazard areas.

09 Feb
Senate Inquiry into Superannuation Objective Bill 2023

HIA provided a submission for the Inquiry into the Superannuation (Objective) Bill 2023.

08 Feb
Climate-related financial disclosure legislation exposure draft

HIA submitted a response on the Climate-related Financial Disclosure legislation following the release of the exposure draft.