Reforms to the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, which took effect this week, will level the playing field between small and big businesses while providing consumers with increased choice and better services in the market place, according to Small Business Michael McCormack.
Commenting on the commencement of the Competition and Consumer Amendment (Competition Policy Review) Bill 2017 on Monday, McCormack said “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.”
Key amendments, now in effect, 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,” McCormack added.