Taking Care Of The Competition

The first comprehensive review of Australian Competition Policy in over 20 years has plenty of relevance for auto dealers.

The Government is currently orchestrating the largest review of competition laws and policy since the Hilmer Review in 1993. Of course since then, there has been incredible change in Australia (and the world), with monumental shifts in market conditions, business operations and consumer behaviour.

Submissions are currently being received by the Competition Policy Review Panel, which is inviting public feedback on competition policy laws and how they fit current business conditions. The AADA will submit its own feedback and recommendations by the due date, June 10, and is inviting Dealers interested in contributing to the submission to contact Policy Director, Michael Deed via mdeed@aada.asn.au.

Why Review Competition Policy?

A robust and thriving competitive environment is incredibly important to Australia not only now, but will help ensure the country’s continued success into the future.
For example, in 2005 the Productivity Commission found that changes resulting from the last major Review helped increase Australia’s GDP by 2.5 per cent.

Competition encourages greater consumer choice in products and services, helps regulate fair pricing, drives innovation and aims to ensure all Australians have a fair opportunity to compete in the ever-changing market.

In fact, it’s the ever-changing nature of the Australian market, with factors such as globalisation and altered consumer behaviour, which is perhaps the most significant catalyst for the Review.

Indeed, it is a very welcome (and overdue) announcement from the Government.

What’s Being Investigated?

According to a Competition Review media release in December, much of the examination will focus on how new policies can be created to promote business growth and investment in Australia.

Truly comprehensive, the Review will study current laws as well as the entire competition framework, identifying ways to ‘increase productivity and efficiency in markets, drive benefits to ease cost of living pressures and raise living standards for all Australians.’

The Review will also consider competition legislation for matters beyond Australia, including current barriers preventing businesses trying to enter or compete in Australian or overseas markets.

How Will Dealers be Affected?

Australian Dealers may likely be affected by changes on a number of levels.

As the Review is far-reaching, amendments to licensing, trading hours, planning, site development, ACCC procedures and other areas could very likely come to pass. Some of the areas of focus already raised by the Terms of Reference, and of particular importance to Dealers, include:

Import restrictions, bans and tariffs, international price discrimination, parallel importation, globalisation and changing markets, technology changes, unfair and unconscionable conduct provisions and Franchising Code.

What’s Next?

Following the collection of public submissions, which close on June 10, a draft report from the Review Panel is expected to be released in September. Further submissions will be collected in response to the draft, with a final report scheduled for release in early 2015.

The AADA will closely monitor this process and continue to take advantage of  opportunities to provide recommendations on behalf of new car dealers.

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