Sunday, May 26, 2024

Federal Cabinet urged to press ahead with reform of competition laws

Master Grocers Australia (MGA) is urging federal cabinet to resist the campaign of the Business Council of Australia and press ahead with the reform of Australia’s competition laws by introducing an effects test.

MGA CEO Jos de Bruin said the proposed amendment to s46 of the Competition and Consumer Act will give the ACCC the teeth it needs to deter the continued misuse of market power.

“The proposed amendments to the act have been strongly supported by the ACCC, employer associations and consumer organisations, such as Choice,” he said. “An MGA survey of 1,000 Australians showed overwhelmingly that new, stronger competition laws are vital for the sustainable future of small businesses in this country.

“Stronger competition means lower prices and more choice for consumers, but the Business Council of Australia and its supporters clearly are not prepared to entertain any perceived challenge from any quarter. Without legislative change, the market power of the giant duopoly, Coles and Woolworths, will continue to exert its unstoppable appetite for increased market share.”

CPA Australia Chief Executive Alex Malley said the Small Business Minister’s proposed competition policy reform is showing his cabinet colleagues what can be done when you are across the issues and connected with stakeholders.

“The actions taken by Bruce Billson in the design and development of an effects test for competition law is a template for good policy making that other ministers should study,” he said.

“The effects test will enhance protections for small businesses against larger rivals who may seek to misuse their market power. The reforms will provide additional incentives for businesses of all sizes to innovate and compete by reducing the fear of anti-competitive behaviour by larger and more established businesses.

“The complaints from big business and its representative bodies are entirely expected and can be discounted. The minister is staring down those concerns and has made the right call to support its introduction.

“Australia has been built on small business. It’s where entrepreneurship thrives and it’s where our future prosperity lies. Bold policy initiatives such as Billson’s instant asset write-off and the effects test are essential to providing the right settings.”

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