This week, the Australian Government released its response to the Harper Competition Review – the biggest investigation of Australia’s competition laws in more than 20 years. While the Government supported 44 of the Report’s 56 recommendations, the provisions around misuse of market power have been flagged for further investigation.

On Tuesday 24 November 2015, the Australian Government released its response to the Harper Competition Review.

Billed as the biggest review of Australia’s Competition Policy in more than 20 years, the report listed 56 recommendations for reform of Australia’s competition laws.

In responding to the report, the Government supported 44 of the 56 recommendations with the remaining 12 recommendations to be the subject of further consideration.

“Perhaps the most significant aspect of this announcement was the Government’s statement that further work was required on the recommendations relating to Misuse of Market Power (Section 46) – a key area of interest for many within our industry”, said ACAPMA CEO Mark McKenzie.

“We believe that it would be wrong, however, to conclude that the Australian Government has put the recommendations relating to Section 46 ‘on the shelf’ in the hope that we will all forget about it”, said Mark

In fact, follow up discussions with the Federal Minister for Small Business, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP, immediately following the release suggests that the government is genuine in its intent to look more closely at the issues relating to Misuse of Market Power provisions.

“We were very heartened by our conversations with Minister O’Dwyer who suggested that a consultative process will be instigated with all stakeholders – that is supporters and opponents of change – with a view to the Government making a decision on this matter by March 2016”, said Mark

“This is an important issue for our industry and ACAPMA will continue to press for changes to the current legislation with a view to improving the ability of smaller businesses to seek remedy against larger businesses who have genuinely misused their market power”, said Mark

ACAPMA looks forward to working with the Australian Government – and all stakeholders – to discuss this issue with a view to securing necessary improvements in the operation of Section 46 – Misuse of Market Power.

More information on this matter can be obtained by contacting the ACAPMA Secretariat on 1300 160 270.

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