Root and branch review targets competition laws

The clock has started on the first review of Australia’s competition laws since the Hilmer Review more than 20 years ago.

In announcing the review on 4 December 2013, the Federal Government stated that the as yet unnamed review panel would have 12 months to deliver their final report – a tight deadline given the broad scope of the review.

The government said all states and territories had been issued with the draft terms of reference, which were released on 12 December 2013, and that the review panel would be established soon to ensure the report met the 12-month deadline.

Referred to as a ‘root and branch’ review by the government, the undertaking will examine current laws and the broader competition framework to “increase productivity and efficiency in markets, drive benefits to ease cost of living pressures and raise living standards for all Australians”.

“This review is long overdue and will help identify microeconomic reforms and long-term improvements to build strong foundations for a more productive and competitive 21st century Australian economy,” the press statement said.

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

Crown Law’s Commercial and Property Team will provide updates and progress reports on the review throughout the year.

The Assistant Crown Solicitor leading this team, Melinda Pugh, said the review could have significant implications for Queensland Government departments and agencies.

“Any change to the competition laws means that departments and agencies should conduct a review of their processes and policies to ensure continuing compliance with the laws”, Melinda said. Crown Law will be able to assist departments and agencies with any compliance checks that might be required.

A copy of the draft terms of reference is available here.

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: 5 February 2014

Author: Melinda Pugh