Competition policy review panel releases issues paper

In early December 2013, the Federal Government announced a far-reaching review of Australia’s competition policy to “increase productivity and efficiency in markets, drive benefits to ease cost of living pressures and raise living standards for all Australians”.

The government released the final Terms of Reference and appointed the review panel on 27 March 2014.

The panel, who are to report their findings within 12 months, has released an Issues Paper which outlines the scope of the review and invites written submissions from interested parties. It indicates that there will be a broad-ranging inquiry with potential to affect the way that competition law applies to the State of Queensland.

Key questions posed 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 standards?
  • 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 objectives?
  • 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 support)
  • 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 review?

The Federal Government is encouraging interested parties to participate in the public hearings and submission process.

The information in this publication is provided for general purposes only. It is not to be relied on as a substitute for legal advice. Crown Law and the Department of Justice and Attorney-General accept no liability for losses caused by reliance on the material in this publication. Formal legal advice should be obtained for particular matters.

Published: 2 June 2014

Author: Melinda Pugh