CCIQ encourages State response to Harper competition review

Tuesday 24 November, 2015 | By: Darrell Giles | Tags: Harper review, competition policy

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) is encouraged by the Federal Government’s response to proposed competition policy reform and urges the State Government to strongly consider it.

The Harper Review Panel’s final recommendations for competition policy reform in Australia have importantly received the backing of Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison, who has committed to a new national framework for competition policy reform.

CCIQ Director of Advocacy Nick Behrens said the first root and branch review in over 20 years would hopefully set conditions which enabled small businesses to more effectively and fairly compete on a level playing field.

“CCIQ is pleased the Federal Treasurer has remained largely loyal to the overarching principle of ensuring competition policy is properly structured to encourage a level playing field for businesses,” he said.

“We support the range of commitments made by the Treasurer to adopt recommendations that strengthen obligations on governments to compete fairly against the private sector and the establishment of a national body to oversee progress in competition reform.”

Mr Behrens said small business was disappointed the government had elected to postpone the adoption of misuse of market power provisions, which would allow the “duopolistic behaviour of major market players to continue to undermine small businesses”.

“CCIQ will continue to represent the views of small business to the government as it consults further on such matters,” he said.

“However, the State Government also needs to urgently respond to the review and to produce insight on how it will treat key recommendations.

“For example, CCIQ expresses concern for proposals to deregulate shop trading hours, sell pharmaceutical products in supermarkets and introduce competition principles in planning and zoning rules. These are state-based issues.”

Mr Behrens said it was critical that the competition framework was updated to realise future economic opportunity.

“Many things have changed since Australia's National Competition Policy was first introduced in 1995,” he said.

“There have been significant advances in technology and connectivity: the rise of the digital economy; trade liberalisation and globalisation with seamless national borders in respect to commerce; and the rise of Australia's duopoly in the grocery market.

“Today’s announcements confirms the Federal Government’s preparedness to make headway in this space. 

“At the core of any State Government response is more choice, better services and stronger economic growth, but in doing so enabling Queensland small businesses to compete.”

 

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