As Rapid Antigen Tests (‘RAT’) become increasingly difficult to source, National Cabinet last week announced that the Commonwealth would be prohibiting price gouging of RATs, much like the measures currently in place for PPE products and hand sanitizer.
Price gouging is not currently a criminal offence. The introduction of this new offence comes as some retailers are reportedly exploiting nationwide supply shortages and the rapidly increasing number of COVID-19 cases.
These offences are now in force until at least 17 February 2022, under the Biosecurity Act 2015 (Cth).
The maximum penalty for price gouging and the improper exportation of RATs has a fine of up to $66,600 or 5 years imprisonment or both.
What is price gouging?
This offence prevents people from obtaining RATs and on-selling them at extortionate prices. For the purposes of this restriction, an extortionate price is considered to be anything more than 120 per cent of the price at which the RAT was purchased. There are civil remedies and action that can presently be taken by the ACCC.
These changes to law have also prohibited the improper export of RATs, that is, an export outside Australia without a valid exemption.
Photo by Neirfy