COMPETITION POLICY

Small Business rally behind Minister Billson on Effects Test

In a further development in support of an ‘effects test’,a group calling itself ‘The Independent Alliance for Competition’, representing two million small retailers, has thrown its full support behind Minister for Small Business, Bruce Billson’s proposals to strengthen section 46 of the Competition and Consumer Act (CCA) with an effects test to stop big businesses from abusing their market power. Particular reference was made to retail chains, which dominate most market sectors.

The Independent Alliance for Competition was formed to ensure fair competition across all business sectors:

  • The Council of Small Business Australia (COSBOA)
  • Australian Retailers Association (ARA)
  • Fresh Markets Australia
  • Australian Newsagents Federation (ANF)
  • Australasian Convenience & Petroleum Marketers Association (ACPMA)
  • Masters Grocers Association

The Alliance argues that the “Federal Government’s backdown on competition laws entrenches a business status quo which strangles business innovation, entrepreneurship and productivity and is contrary to the long term policy interests of Australia.”

CEO of COSBOA, Peter Strong stated: “Many large businesses, particularly in retail, strangle small business as they compete for market share. Australia needs to ensure there are safeguards in place to ensure market power is not abused and small businesses are given an equal opportunity to compete.”

“We are not asking for a hand up, we just want to be able to compete on a level playing field,” he said.

We understand that while Cabinet has deferred a decision on the matter, Mr Billson is determined to push ahead for an amendment of section 46. On Radio 2GB, he referred to the existing section as a “dud”.

The Independent Business Alliance for Competition represents more than two million small businesses employing five million Australians. The full text of the media release can be accessed at: http://www.retail.org.au/ArticleDetails/tabid/232/ArticleID/838/Government-must-introduce-effects-test.aspx

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