6 November 2017

Small business and consumers big winners today

SMALL business and consumers are big winners today as the Turnbull Government’s competition laws commenced, creating a level playing field and greater protections to balance the small business to big business market relationship, Minister for Small Business Michael McCormack says.

Mr McCormack said the reforms are a great outcome not only for small business but also for Australian consumers as the reforms will ensure increased choice and better services in the market place.

"When Australia’s small businesses are able to compete on their merits, they can pursue new ideas, expand and create more jobs across the country," Mr McCormack said.

Key amendments coming into force today include:

  • Strengthening the prohibition against the misuse of market power (section 46);
  • Replacing the never-used and unworkable price signalling provisions with a general prohibition on concerted practices that substantially lessen competition;
  • Abolishing the formal merger clearance process and providing for merger authorisation applications to be heard firstly by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and reviewed by the Australian Competition Tribunal;
  • Introducing class exemptions for conduct that the ACCC determines does not raise competition concerns; and
  • Amending the National Access Regime to better target the lack of competition in markets for infrastructure services where third party access is required.

"Strengthening section 46 gives small businesses the confidence they deserve and Australian consumers the peace of mind they need," Mr McCormack said.

"Labor, who blocked section 46 at every turn, sent a strong message to small businesses across Australia showing they do not understand small business or have any plan to support them.

"I am proud to be part of a Government that will always back small business to thrive because we know they are the engine room of our economy and the job creators with small to medium enterprises employing more than half the nation’s workforce."