The most comprehensive review of competition policy in 20 years is now underway and an independent panel has been tasked with providing a final report to government within 12 months.
The final terms of reference for the review and the membership of the independent review panel were released by Small Business Minister Bruce Bilson last week.
Mr Bilson said the review would examine the new challenges confronting business in the technologically advanced marketplace of the 21st century and the performance of key regulators such as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
Professor Ian Harper, a director of Deloitte Access Economics and former chairman of the Australian Fair Pay Commission, has been appointed chair of the review panel.
Also on the panel are business leader and former head of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and industry, Peter Anderson, Chief Executive of the Regional Australian Institute, Su McCluskey and Victorian barrister and expert in competition law, Michael O’Bryan.
The panel will undertake a broad consultation, release a discussion paper, take submissions and hold public hearings. The final report to government will be delivered within 12 months.
The scope of the review is broad and the sweeping terms of reference can be found here.
Mr Bilson said the discussion paper would be released in a month, but has remained coy on whether the government would implement recommendations in its first term or seek a mandate for change at the next election.
Mr Bilson has said a “key area of focus” for the review will be the supermarket duopoly, noting that the current competition framework was crafted when Coles and Woolworths only had 40 per cent of the market share. That figure has increased to about 80 per cent today.
The review will also look at removing some of the regulatory barriers to greater competition and the competitive impact of government service providers.