Both the world and Australian economies have changed significantly since the Hilmer Review of the 1990s. The recommendations in this Draft Report seek to bring Australia’s competition policy up to date. The review assessed Australia’s competition policy to see if it is still ‘fit for purpose’, and asks:
- Does it focus on making markets work in the long term interests of consumers?
- Does it foster diversity, choice & responsiveness in government services?
- Does it encourage innovation, entrepreneurship and the entry of new players?
- Does it promote efficient use of infrastructure and natural resources?
- Does it establish laws & regulations that are clear, predictable & reliable?
- Does it secure necessary standards of access & equity?
And recommend changes in three main areas:
- competition principles should apply to all activities of government
- review regulations restricting competition
- 7 priority reform areas covering new and unfinished business
Reforms to enhance effectiveness: - reformulate s46 to protect
- competition - simplify and clarify some
- provisions - streamline approval
- processes - access to remedies
A gap exists in the competition framework:
- a new national competition reform body to replace the NCC
- a new governance structure for the ACCC
- a separate access & pricing regulator
The Prime Minister and the Minister for Small Business announced a review of competition policy on 4 December 2013.
On 27 March 2014, the Minister for Small Business released the final Terms of Reference following consultation with the States and Territories and announced the Review Panel.
The Terms of Reference ask the Review Panel to release an Issues Paper and a Draft Report before finalising their Report to the Government within 12 months.
The Draft Report was released on 22 September 2014. Submissions are invited to be made by 17 November 2014.
Public forums to discuss the Draft Report will be held in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra. If you would like to attend one of the forums you are required to register. The Panel members have each made a statement on the Competition Policy Review’s Draft Report.
The Issues Paper was released on 14 April 2014 and was open for submissions until 10 June 2014. All non-confidential submissions are available to be viewed.