6 November 2017

Aussie small business and consumers the winners as strengthened competition laws commence

The Turnbull Government’s competition laws commence today, levelling the playing field and delivering on major reforms to Australia’s competition law to provide greater protections for small business and support competition in a dynamic economy.

The reforms are a key part of the Turnbull Government’s response to the Harper Competition Policy Review. They will drive increased choice and deliver better services and outcomes for Australian consumers.

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.

The reforms, despite Labor’s vehement opposition to section 46 changes, represent a pivotal step towards ensuring Australia’s competition laws are fit for purpose and support competition in our dynamic economy.