Retailers concerned by proposed reforms


shopping centre An independent paper commissioned by the Australian National Retailers’ Association (ANRA) highlights that proposed reforms in the Draft Competition Policy Review Report would have a chilling effect on competition.

Australia’s largest retailers presented the paper to the Competition Policy Review Panel, minister for small business, Bruce Billson, ACCC chair, Rod Sims, and Liberal member, Josh Frydenberg during a series of meetings held in Canberra today.

This is part of the consultation that the Competition Policy Review Panel has conducted everyday since the draft report was released in September.

ANRA CEO, Anna McPhee, said it is important for the Panel to strike the right balance between prohibiting anti-competitive conduct and not interfering with efficiency, innovation, and entrepreneurship that is pro-competitive and job creating.

“Competition can be bruising, any change to competition law should be directed towards protecting the competitive process rather than individual competitors.

“The report found little or no evidence has been presented to demonstrate that the existing provision in Section 46 is deficient in some way and there is not a strong case for new regulation.

“The report also stated the proposed reform would require organisations to demonstrate a causal connection between its market power and its conduct. This would require companies to exhibit near perfect foresight on the effect of competition when considering opening a new enterprise in a particular jurisdiction.

“This is an example of lawyers drafting reforms with no insight into the reality of business decision making,” McPhee said.

ANRA will make a formal submission to respond to all of the draft report’s recommendations in November.

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