The Competition and Consumer Amendment (Misuse of Market Power) Bill 2017 has now passed the House of Representatives, and further consideration in the Senate has been adjourned until 9 May 2017 when the Senate next sits. The Bill was introduced into the House of Representatives in December 2016, but was amended in March to:

  • change the commencement date to ensure that the new section 46 (dealing with misuse of market power) does not commence until, and unless, authorisation is available for conduct to which section 46 may apply; and
  • as per the recommendations of the Senate Economics Legislation Committee, remove the proposed “mandatory factors” in section 46(2) from the Bill. These “mandatory factors” stipulated the considerations that had to be taken into account by courts in determining whether conduct has the purpose, effect, or likely effect, of substantially lessening competition in a market.

The Competition and Consumer Amendment (Competition Policy Review) Bill 2017 was also introduced into the House of Representatives on 30 March 2017. The Bill relates to the other recommendations of the Harper Panel in 2015, and contains a broad range of amendments to the Competition and Consumer Act in areas such as:

  • cartels;
  • price signalling and concerted practices;
  • exclusionary provisions;
  • secondary boycotts;
  • third line forcing;
  • resale price maintenance;
  • authorisations, notifications and class exemptions;
  • ACCC’s power to obtain information, documents and evidence; and
  • access to services

It is anticipated at this stage that the amendments contained in the Bills will come into effect by July 2018.