Competition Policy Review Final Report

Consumer Action has made a submission to the Federal Treasury’s consultation on the Competition Policy Review Final Report. In summary, the submission argues:

• Competition policy should promote the long-term interests of consumers. Governments should more clearly acknowledge and facilitate the role empowered consumers play in driving effective competition.
• User choice and competition should not be the central principles for human services delivery. Access and equity in addition to consumer voices are defining considerations in these areas.
• The use of data by industry to profile and target consumers can drive economic inequality. Consumers should have the right to receive their personal and transaction data in a standardised and machine-readable format.
• A new market study power should be included in our competition law, with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) having power to undertake such studies.
• A “super complaint” mechanism should be established to facilitate consumer organisations initiating a market study.
• The governance arrangements of the ACCC should not be dramatically altered, and the positions of Deputy Chairs for consumers and small business should be maintained.
• The ACCC should not be limited in its dealings with the media.
• The ACCC should remain responsible for competition, consumer matters and economic regulation. Should economic regulation be moved to a new access and pricing regulator, it should be given consumer experience at board level and should have operations designed to allow and encourage consumer input.
• Any new Australian Council for Competition Policy should be specifically constituted to involve consumer interests.
• The procedures of the Australian Competition Tribunal should be improved to facilitate direct engagement with consumer representatives.

The full submission can be found here [PDF]

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