The Albanese Government is undertaking a review of competition policy settings to help build a more dynamic and productive economy.
Greater competition is critical for lifting dynamism, productivity and wages growth, putting downward pressure on prices and delivering more choice for Australians dealing with cost-of-living pressures.
Australia’s productivity growth has slowed over the past decade, and reduced competition has contributed to this – with evidence of increased market concentration, a rise in markups and a reduction in dynamism across many parts of the economy.
We need to ensure our competition policy settings are fit for purpose in the face of the big shifts underway in our economy, so we can make the most of digitalisation, the growth in services, the net zero transformation, while supporting our nation’s most vulnerable.
The review will look at competition laws, policies and institutions to ensure they remain fit for purpose, with a focus on reforms that would increase productivity, reduce the cost of living and boost wages.
A Competition Taskforce has been established in Treasury to conduct the review, which will be progressed over two years and involve targeted public consultation. It will provide continuous advice rather than a formal report, so progress can be made over time.
Initial issues to be considered by the review will include:
- proposals put forward by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission around merger reform, as well as other competition law issues
- options for coordinated reform with states and territories, to be progressed through the Council on Federal Financial Relations
- non-compete and related clauses that restrict workers from shifting to a better-paying job
- providing advice on competition issues raised by new technologies, the net zero transformation and growth in the care economy
The Taskforce will be supported by an expert panel with members including the CEO of the Grattan Institute, Danielle Wood, and former Chair of the ACCC, Rod Sims.
The Intergenerational Report, to be released this week, will highlight the critical role of competition for revitalising productivity growth.
The importance of competition for strong labour market outcomes will be further explored in the forthcoming Employment White Paper.
The review builds on the Albanese Government’s existing efforts to boost competition, including through our reforms of the payments system and Australia’s financial market infrastructure.
The Albanese Government is focused on tackling cost of living pressures now and laying the foundations for future growth – and making our economy more competitive is critical to both of these goals.