Dear Mr Karmichael,
Thank you for your email to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (the ACCC) regarding retail pricing in Australia. In particular you have raised concerns that US comic books should retail for a lesser amount.
The role of the ACCC is to ensure compliance with the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) (the Act), which is designed to encourage fair trading and discourage anti-competitive conduct through a specific set of competition and consumer protection rules.
I understand and sympathise with your concerns about the high prices that consumers pay for some products in the retail market compared to international prices. The ACCC is constrained by the legislation it administers and there are no provisions in the Act that prohibit this type of conduct. The ACCC has no power to set or control prices for goods and services at either the retail or wholesale levels. It does not have a direct role in regulating or setting prices except in the case of products or services that are declared under Part VIIA of the Act. The price of comic books is not declared under Part VIIA. In these circumstances businesses are free to determine their own pricing policies and provided that they do this independently it is unlikely to raise concerns under the Act.
Thank you for contacting the ACCC. I regret that I am unable to be of more assistance to you.
Comicoz is Nat Karmichael's publishing imprint. Nat is committed to preserving a permanent collection of Australian comic and comic strips. He feels that there is a need to recognise comics' contribution to and depiction of Australian culture.
Since 2011, Nat has self-published over twelve comic-related books and was Publisher-Editor of
Oi Oi Oi! -- the last series of nationally-distributed comic books of original stories to appear on Australian newsstands. He is a member of the Australian Cartoonists Association and edited the Association's journal Inkspot for 14 issues from late 2015. For numerous years he was the Lead Judge in the Ledger of Honour Awards for the Comic Arts Awards of Australia (formerly the Ledgers). These days Nat dreams of retiring from his occupation as a Clinical Nurse in the Psychiatric Emergency Centre in Queensland's largest public hospital, so that he can spend more time with his long-suffering wife and their six children and fourteen grandchildren. And perhaps publish some more comic-related books.
Comicoz acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay respects to elders, past, present, and emerging, and extend that respect to all First Nations peoples.
Australian Publications since 1976:
1 x Poster
19 x comics (one a co-production with Cyclone Comics in 1988/9, one a co-production with Cowtown Comics in 2022)
2 x Paperback books
10 x Hardcover books