The Australian Government released an exposure draft of the Competition and Consumer Amendment (Competition Policy Review) Bill today to implement reforms identified by the Harper Competition Policy Review.

To help interested parties understand the proposed reforms, the ACCC has released a framework for guidance on how it proposes to approach two important proposals in the exposure draft Bill:

  • amending the misuse of market power provision (section 46 of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010) to introduce a substantial lessening of competition test to determine whether a business with a substantial degree of market power has engaged in anti-competitive conduct; and
  • the creation of a prohibition against concerted practices that substantially lessen competition.

If the Bill is enacted, we will publish guidelines that will be based on this framework to explain our approach to possible breaches of these prohibitions. Ultimately it will be a matter for the court to determine if particular conduct has breached the relevant prohibitions.

“We are interested in receiving comments or suggestions from interested parties regarding the proposed content of the guidelines outlined in this framework,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

“In particular, the ACCC is inviting feedback from consumers, businesses, and other stakeholders about the issues and topics the ACCC can provide guidance on to assist them understand how the amended misuse of market power prohibition, and the prohibition on anti-competitive concerted practices are likely to operate and how we’ll approach those provisions,” Mr Sims said.

For further information on the frameworks for guidance, please see:

Draft framework for misuse of market power guidelines

Draft framework for concerted practices guidelines

Submissions to the ACCC on the framework for guidance can be made by close of business on 3 October 2016 in relation to: