Do regulatory restrictions adversely impact competition in
your industry? Should misuse of market power be analysed by its
effect rather than its purpose? Is it effective to have three
different merger clearance processes? What is your experience in
dealing with the ACCC?
You now have the opportunity to comment on these and any other
issues that you see as affecting the competitive process in
Australia. Read on to learn more.
'Root and branch' review of Australia's
competition laws and policy
On 14 April 2014 the Competition Policy Review Panel, appointed
by the Federal Government to conduct a "root and branch"
review of Australia's competition laws and policy, released its
Issues Paper (available
here). The Issues Paper is open for submissions until
10 June 2014.
The review was announced in December 2013 and the Panel
appointed in March 2014. Its overarching objective is to identify
areas for micro-economic reform to stimulate competition and drive
ongoing productivity growth and better standards of living. It is
the first major review since the National Competition Policy Review
(known as the Hilmer review) in 1993 and will take account of
significant changes to the Australian economy over the last twenty
years, such as globalisation, innovation, and demographic
The Terms of Reference for the review are very wide-ranging,
examining not just the working of the current competition laws and
institutions but also any barriers or impediments to competition in
the Australian economy.
The Issues Paper is the first step in the work of the Panel and
proceeds very much as a scoping document, seeking stakeholder
feedback on a series of issues in order to shape the direction of
the review and identify priorities. In releasing the Issues Paper,
Professor Ian Harper, Chair of the Panel, stated:
"[T]hese issues are only a
start and just a guide. Importantly, the Issues Paper is about
asking questions, rather than setting out any concluded or
Indeed the Issues Paper poses over 50 questions. It is
structured into six chapters each containing one or two
"key" questions and a number of sub-questions arising
from the Terms of Reference.
The key questions outlined in the Issues Paper are:
What should be the priorities for a competition policy reform
agenda to ensure that efficient businesses, large or small, can
compete effectively and drive growth in productivity and living
Are there unwarranted regulatory impediments to competition in
any sector in Australia that should be removed or altered?
Are government-provided goods and services delivered in a
manner conducive to competition, while meeting other policy
Is there a need for further competition-related reform in
infrastructure sectors with a history of heavy government
involvement (such as the water, energy and transport sectors)?
Would there be a public benefit in encouraging greater
competition and choice in sectors with substantial government
participation (including education, health and disability care and
Are the current competition laws working effectively to promote
competitive markets, given increasing globalisation, changing
market and social structures, and technological change?
Are competition-related institutions functioning effectively
and promoting efficient outcomes for consumers and the maximum
scope for industry participation?
What institutional arrangements would best support a
self-sustaining process for continual competition policy reform and
How to get involved
You may make a formal submission on any aspect covered by Issues
Paper - or any issue that you believe should be included within the
scope of the review. Alternatively, you may submit your thoughts on
any or all of the 8 key questions outlined above via an online
portal on the review's website. Submissions may be made
The Issues Paper will be followed by a draft report later in
2014 and a final report within 12 months.
The Panel intends to hold extensive public consultation at each
stage of the review including public forums, written submissions,
stakeholder feedback and a conference following the release of its
draft report. Details of consultations will be made available on
the review's website. You can
also subscribe to receive email updates about when and where the
panel is holding consultation meetings.
This newsletter includes links to recent media releases, reports and cases relating to competition and consumer law.
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