Root and branch review of competition laws bears fruit

Published On 22/09/2014 | By Peta Stevenson | Reform

On Monday, 22 September 2014, the Competition Policy Review Panel released its 307-page Draft Report on the effectiveness of Australia’s current competition policy and laws, and its recommendations for the promotion of competition across the economy.

Welcomely, the Review Panel has reaffirmed that the objectives of competition policy are to enhance the welfare of consumers and to protect the competitive process and competitiveness of markets as a whole, not individual businesses or competitors.

The Panel’s Draft Report considers how to reduce the burden of compliance on business as well as making recommendations to ensure that our competition laws remain fit for purpose.  We have today released a detailed alert, which looks at the Panel’s recommendations and views on:

  • how to simplify the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) (CCA) by removing overly prescriptive provisions and certain redundant laws;
  • amending the current prohibition on the misuse of market power (section 46) to provide for a prohibition on conduct by a corporation with a substantial degree of market power from engaging in conduct that has the purpose, effect or likely effect of substantially lessening competition in a market;
  • creating a new process for merger clearances;
  • simplifying and narrowing the application of the cartel provisions;
  • expanding the prohibition on contracts, arrangements or understandings that have a purpose or effect of substantially lessening competition to apply to “concerted practices”;
  • removing barriers to private enforcement;
  • the creation of a new entity, the Australian Council for Competition Policy (to be funded jointly by the Commonwealth, State and Territories) as the leader and driver of implementation of the competition policy agenda, with a power to undertake market studies;
  • amendments to the national access regime under Part IIIA of the CCA, taking the benefit of the comprehensive review of the national access regime recently undertaken by the Productivity Commission; and
  • tweaks to the mandatory notice regime under section 155 of the CCA.

CompetitionLaw_Competition_Review_Panel_Infographic

Source: The Australian Government Competition Policy Review.

Read our full alert here.

Submissions are due by 17 November 2014.  We can help.

Photo credit: Muffet / Foter / CC BY

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About The Author

is a partner in the Sydney office of King & Wood Mallesons where she specialises in competition litigation with experience in a wide range of jurisdictions. Peta also advises clients on the application of the anti-competitive conduct, consumer protection and access provisions of the Competition & Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) and related state legislation. In 2001/02 she undertook her LLM at the University of Cambridge, during which time she developed a passionate if fleeting interest in rowing.

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