'Competition', while not defined in the Australian legislation, tends to refer to rivalry between different businesses, occurring in a marketplace where no single business is able to distort the workings of the market. Competitive markets are important because they encourage efficiency and innovation, and lead to a wider range of products and services being available at the best possible price.
The CCA contains provisions intended to protect and enhance the competitive process in Australia. There are five core competition law prohibitions that forbid:
- misuse of market power: the use of substantial market power for anti-competitive purposes
- cartel conduct: anti-competitive agreements between competitors
- exclusive dealing: attaching anti-competitive terms or conditions to the supply or acquisition of goods or services
- resale price maintenance: requiring customers to sell goods or services at or above a specified minimum price
- anti-competitive mergers: an acquisition of one company by another that is likely to result in a substantial lessening of competition in the market that the companies operate in.
The ACCC is Australia's competition regulator. It adopts a range of strategies designed to promote and enforce compliance with Australia's competition law. These strategies cover a broad compliance and enforcement spectrum, ranging from simply speaking with the business and resolving the issue administratively through to bringing action in court.