Thoughts on Competition review?


(JM) #1

So the ACCC has recently released the draft of their Competition Policy Review and have suggested a number of reforms including increased trading hours, deregulating the ‘taxi’ and pharmaceutical industries. reform to patenting and IP laws etc.

Opinions? Any concerns?

Summary here

Draft Report here
http://competitionpolicyreview.gov.au/draft-report/


(Mark) #2

In (very) brief the review has some good ideas.

It recommends removing the exemptions intellectual property currently has vis a vis competition law. This would mean IP transactions are subject to the same competition requirements as all other transactions. This is excellent and likely to be supported by everyone except the copyright cartel.

It says parallel import restrictions should be abolished. This would be an actual free-trade measure (unlike most so-called free trade agreements) and would directly lower prices for books and other things. The push against this seems overly emotional and largely from vested interests, which is probably a sign that it’s a good idea.

It advocates dismantling the bizarre pharmacy guild monopoly and anti-competitive rules which have been cooked up by the guild and various governments over time.

It recommends road users stop paying flat rego charges and instead pay based on their level of road use. Sensible probably but the risk is that the less wealthy who have to travel further to workplaces will be slugged harder. Also, the tolling and tracking systems this would require could be a privacy risk without safeguards. Our policy is to abolish the rego charge and increase fuel excise, which creates better incentives and fewer risks IMHO.

For the supermarket duopoly, it recommends that local councils give more weight to factors like competition in their approval processes. This is a squib, I think, since it solves none of the existing problem and couldn’t really amount to more than a marginal slowing of duopoly expansion in particular areas.

It recommends freeing up the taxi licence system, which has been locked down by backroom deals between big operators and governments for decades. This would be a good reform.

In short the review is basically belting monopoly rents and artificial scarcity all over the shop and it should probably get some love from us before the major parties bury it.


(Brendan Molloy) #3

Been wanting to put out a response to this since I was aware the review came to be.

Will see if we can’t have a PR done by Monday on it.


(Andrew A) #4

The Harper Review has now been partially rolled out in Queensland. Unfortunately not in full to date. Further retail deregulation has been put on hold thanks to the last review in 2017 putting a 5 year moratorium on any further deregulation. I am a big advocate of full deregulation it leads to convenience for consumers which has been the case in NSW and VIC. Packaged liquor reform is still to be instigated in QLD . It is currently under review. The best outcome would be to allow supermarkets and convenience store the ability to apply for a licence sell packaged liquor. Even though it would allow Coles and Woolworths also to apply for a Packaged Liquor licence, new entrants such as Aldi and Kaufland would ensure fair competition. I would also allow smaller supermarkets under the Drakes, IGA, Spar and Foodworks brands to also compete at a fairer level as these supermarkets are currently locked out of the Liquor market due to the cost of buying a pub to sell packaged liquor.
A poll conducted late last year by ABC Brisbane shows 66% of respondents are in favour of amending the Queensland Liquor Act 92 to allow Supermarkets to sell packaged Liquor.

Its time to amend the Act to allow Supermarkets the ability to apply for a Licence to sell packaged liquor in Queensland

The end result of allowing supermarkets the ability to be licensed would ensure a new revenue stream for Government. Fairer distribution of consumer funds to smaller and medium retail businesses. Increased competition in the liquor market resulting in extended choice and competitive price for consumers. Potential of increased employment in the shop-fitting industry, to retrofit stores, to stock packaged liquor in aisles, or in a partially partitioned area within the store.

Anyone who is interested to advocate for the change, can email the Qld’s Attorneys Department at attorney@ministerial.qld.gov.au