Wednesday, April 24, 2024

ACCC seeks feedback on competition law reforms

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

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has said that it would outline its proposed approach to two of the 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 the competition test to determine whether a business with a substantial degree of market power has engaged in anti-competitive conduct.
  • The creation of a prohibition against concerted practices that substantially lessen competition.

If the bill is enacted, the ACCC will publish guidelines to explain its approach to possible breaches of prohibitions, although it will ultimately be a matter for the court to determine if particular conduct does constitute a breach of 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 in understanding 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.”

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