Today’s release of an Issues Paper by the Competition Policy Review Panel marks the first stage in a comprehensive consultation strategy that will help the Panel prioritise its work over the year ahead.
In releasing the Issues Paper, the Chair of the independent Panel Professor Ian Harper said:
“This is an ambitious and wide-ranging review of Australia’s competition laws and policy. Its success will depend on deep and extensive stakeholder engagement.”
Professor Harper noted that the review is not just about competition law, but about the broader Australian economy – it’s about improving our standard of living, by driving competition across the entire economy.
Professor Harper said: “We need a modern, responsive competition policy framework that strengthens our economy today, and positions us for the new opportunities and challenges we face in the decades to come.”
Competition policy can boost growth in our living standards and productivity – by driving innovation, improving the range of choices open to consumers, and making our markets more efficient with more competitive prices for businesses and consumers.
With broad terms of reference, the Issues Paper invites commentary across a wide spectrum leaving nothing off the table. But the Panel is also seeking feedback on a number of key areas.
The key focus is how to introduce competition more broadly across all sectors of the Australian economy, what institutional arrangements can best support an ongoing reform agenda and are the current competition laws “fit for purpose” and the regulators as effective as possible.
“But these issues are only a start and just a guide. Importantly, the Issues Paper is about asking questions, rather than setting out any concluded or preconceived views.” Professor Harper said.
The Issues Paper is the first stage in what will be a comprehensive and inclusive consultation strategy in both capital cities and regional Australia.
A copy of the Issues Paper is available on the Review website. Further details on consultation meetings will also be posted to this site in the near future.
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About the Review
This is the first comprehensive review of Australia’s competition laws and policy in over 20 years. The National Competition Policy Review (The Hilmer Review) of 1993 underpinned the development of the National Competition Policy – a co-operative initiative of the Australian and State and Territory governments that the Productivity Commission found contributed to a surge in productivity, directly reduced some prices and stimulated business innovation.
There has been considerable change in the Australian economy since the Hilmer Report of the early 1990s and the boost in productivity that underpinned the growth in living standards over the past two decades is waning. The Competition Policy Review will examine the broader competition framework to ensure that it continues to play a role as a significant driver of productivity improvements and to ensure that the current laws are operating as intended and are effective for all businesses, big and small.
The Review is being conducted by an Independent Panel which is Chaired by Professor Ian Harper, with members Mr Peter Anderson, Ms Su McCluskey and Mr Michael O’Bryan SC.