The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has provided a submission to the Commonwealth Treasury’s consultation on the recommendations of the Competition Policy Review Panel.
The submission is focussed on a subset of the recommendations, particularly those that changed since the Draft Report, and deals with some specific details as to how the recommendations can be implemented.
“Overall, this is a vitally important reform package and the ACCC will continue to work constructively with Government and other stakeholders to ensure that this reform opportunity delivers a strengthened and more robust competition framework,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.
The ACCC welcomes most of the recommendations in the Draft Report. One key concern, however, is the proposal for significant reforms to provisions in the Competition & Consumer Act 2010 (CCA) regarding cartels.
“The proposals may have the unintended effect of undermining the ACCC’s ability to take effective enforcement action to address hard core cartel conduct. Considerable further thought therefore needs to be given to them before any change to the current law is made,” Mr Sims said.
The ACCC also reiterates its view that advocacy and market study roles are key functions of competition agencies right around the world, enabling them to identify competition issues and articulate appropriate remedies or policy responses to decision makers.
“In the spirit of the pro-competitive reforms proposed by the Review Panel, we consider that these advocacy and market study functions should clearly be a part of the ACCC’s mandate. This would enhance its effectiveness as a voice for competition going forward,” Mr Sims said.
The ACCC’s submission again notes its opposition to the proposal to separate infrastructure regulation from the ACCC’s competition and enforcement functions.
“Aside from the matters raised in its submission, the ACCC supports the bulk of the recommendations to amend the competition law framework, many of which are suitable for direct implementation,” Mr Sims said.
The submission is available on the ACCC website's submissions page.