Competition law reform passes through Lower House

Changes to competition laws will see the introduction of the ‘effects test’ proposed by Professor Ian Harper in his extensive review.

Treasurer Scott Morrison says the legislation – together with reforms to the misuse of market power provision, which are already before Parliament – moves towards the Government’s aim of stronger competition in our markets to improve the long-term welfare of consumers, businesses and ultimately the economy.

“Consumers will benefit from greater choice and the availability of the best-quality goods and services at the lowest prices,” he said. “Businesses will benefit from a competitive environment in which new and innovative firms can enter existing markets, and new markets are created. The Australian economy will benefit from the introduction of new technologies into Australia, and more agile local firms that are better able to compete in international markets.”

Master Grocers Australia CEO Jos de Bruin says the reform measures being proposed by the federal government will help establish a “level playing field”.

“Many larger businesses have been able to use their market power to engage in anti-competitive policies and practices,” he said. “The amendment to Section 46 of the Competition and Consumer Act will provide stronger laws that will deter anti-competitive conduct and provide sustainability for small businesses.”

The bill successfully passed through the Lower House last week and is set to face the Senate. Mr de Bruin says he hopes the journey ahead is smooth.

“We know there will be some hurdles to overcome, but we hope that a majority of senators will recognise that the proposed changes will result in efficiency, innovation and healthy competition, enabling all Australians to benefit from the reforms,” he said.

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