First consultation roundtable held: Competition Policy Review

Friday 24 April 2015:

The Abbott Government is committed to listening to the views of business and other stakeholders to help shape new policy.

Today I hosted the first of several consultation roundtables on the Harper Competition Policy Review.

The roundtable was attended by umbrella small business representative organisations as well as those from the retail, motor vehicle, agriculture, transport, contractors and franchising sectors.

Attendees provided constructive and thoughtful engagement on the review. There was general support for the intent of the Harper report.

Participants are keen to get a deeper understanding through case studies and other guidance material of what the recommendations would practically mean if implemented.

There was broad support for the recommendation on the misuse of market power (s.46), however it was agreed careful drafting of the legislation and supporting guidance would be necessary to avoid confusion, minimise uncertainty or the overuse of legal action.

The greater use of industry codes was raised as a way of achieving some outcomes without over complicating broader competition laws. Early resolution of disputes was also suggested as important for small business commissioners, the regulator and governments.

There was general support for revisiting the intent and impacts of planning and zoning regulations.

These views are important in informing the Government’s response to the report later in the year.

As the engine room of our economy, small business is key to our nation’s future prosperity.

It was recognised that in many key areas changes to the competition framework would need collaborative action across all levels to collectively remove barriers to innovation and provide support to business to transition to a more competitive environment and then succeed.

Consultation is ongoing and I encourage interested parties to have their say by lodging a submission. Further information is available on the Consultation and Reviews section of the Treasury website: www.treasury.gov.au