As highlighted in a recent speech by the Minister for Small Business, Australia’s Federal Government clearly sees the current Review of Competition Policy as involving a broad remit that goes beyond reviewing the “competition law toolkit” within the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth).
The Government’s involvement in markets and how regulators support competition will also be important areas of focus for the Review Panel, according to the Review’s sponsoring minister, the Minister for Small Business, Bruce Billson, in his speech to the Committee for Economic Development of Australia on 9 May 2014.
The Minister emphasised that provisions seeking to deal with misuse of market power and unfair and unconscionable conduct will be front of mind for those on the Panel (and for details of the Panel members, see ourprevious post). He expects that the conduct of supermarkets towards smaller businesses will continue to receive close public attention, particularly in light of the allegations that have been made by the ACCC in recent proceedings commenced against Coles.
“We want a competitive environment where efficient businesses – big and small – have an opportunity to thrive and prosper. An economy based on merit, not muscle,” the Minister said.
With the Federal Budget due to be announced in Canberra on Tuesday night, the Minister’s comments confirm our expectation that productivity growth and deregulation will feature as key themes. We will update you on any significant changes affecting competition law that are announced.