Thursday, January 30, 2014
Chris Jose, Herbert Smith Freehills Stephen P. King, Monash University - Department of Economics; Economic Regulation Authority of Western Australia (ERA), and Graeme Samuel, Monash University - Faculty of Business and Economics provide An Agenda for Australia's National Competition Policy Inquiry.
ABSTRACT: The recently elected Australian government has announced that it will carry out a ‘root and branch’ Review of Australia’s competition laws. What should such a Review cover? In this report, we consider the key areas that need to be covered by the Review. We highlight the key issues and, in some areas, present potential directions for reform. The aim of this report is to present an agenda – not to present the 'solutions’. The first step of any reform process is to outline the scope of inquiry. That is the aim of the current report. This report is divided into two parts. The first part looks at Australia’s core competition statute, the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, and considers the parts of this Act that should be considered by the Review and the areas that should be ‘outside scope’. We make this delineation on both practical and policy grounds. In particular, the Review should consider how the competition provisions of the Act, and its operation and administration, can best serve the objective of enhancing the welfare of Australians. The second part of this report considers areas outside the Competition and Consumer Act that impact on National Competition Policy objectives and which most urgently require attention. In particular, this part of the report focuses on the need for an integrated reform process of the type that emerged from the 1993 Hilmer report.