FEDERAL Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce said consumers in the New England Electorate are a step closer to lower prices, and local businesses to growing their business and meeting the needs of their customers, following the release of the Competition Review final report.
Mr Joyce said the Commonwealth Government commissioned the independent report as part of the first comprehensive assessment of Australia’s competition policies, laws and institutions in more than 20 years. The report includes 59 recommendations for how Australia’s competition policy can be improved.
He said the review is aimed at reducing the cost of living for families and giving small and medium businesses the tools to succeed.
“Healthy competition can lead to lower prices at the check-out for families and local businesses becoming more competitive by removing road blocks to innovation,” Mr Joyce said.
“It is the surest way to raise productivity and grow our economy, ultimately resulting in higher living standards, better paying jobs and improvements to our quality of life.
“The release of this independent final report is a significant step towards the Government’s election commitment of an effective competition framework to benefit consumers and businesses.”
Some of the recommendations in the report include freeing up remaining restrictions on retail trading hours, re-evaluating restrictive planning and zoning policies, relaxing parallel import restrictions, potentially making cars more affordable, and altering road pricing and related taxes in order to fund better road infrastructure.
The report by Professor Ian Harper and his panel is now out for eight weeks public consultation, and citizens in the New England Electorate are encouraged to submit their views.
“It is important we get this framework right to maximise the benefits to households and minimise unnecessary restrictions on businesses innovating and adapting to new technologies and global competitive pressures,” he said.
The Minister for Small Business Bruce Billson said he will take on board the views expressed in submissions and will work with the Prime Minister, and state and territory colleagues.
“All of the reforms proposed warrant careful consideration before making any change.
“I look forward to the views of citizens on which recommendations they think would most benefit them. Each state and territory has unique circumstances, so we will need to respond to the recommendations relevant to each jurisdiction.”
A full Government response will be developed by the end of this year.
The full report, together with details of the consultation process, can be found on the Treasury website: www.competitionpolicyreview.gov.au