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Labor welcomes call for competition reform.

Labor Welcomes Call For Competition Reform

 

Kelvin Thomson - Shadow Assistant Treasurer

 

Media Statement - 17 February 2000

 

Labor's Spokesperson on Competition Policy, Kelvin Thomson, today welcomed the Final Report of the Senate Select Committee on the Socio-Economic Consequences of the National Competition Policy (NCP) which was tabled in the Senate.

 

Mr Thomson said Labor welcomes the Committee's Report on Competition Policy, and notes the report's findings that:

 

• The Public Benefit Test has had a limited application. It has too often been reduced to assessments based solely on narrow economic measures. This has often led to NCP being applied in areas where there is little obvious benefit to the community. Labor sees a need for a stronger public interest test and for greater transparency. 

 

• The oversight mechanism of the Council of Australian Governments (CoAG) has not operated properly, leading to a reduction in the influence on the process by elected representatives and the public. 

 

• The lack of understanding about the policy has lead to confusion about what NCP is about and how it actually works. This has been to the detriment of NCP. The community needs to be included more closely in the NCP process. 

 

• Governments need to critically examine the competitive tendering processes for social welfare services to ensure that the quality of the service is retained.

 

"The Howard Government has voluntarily vacated the field on NCP, not even convening the meetings of National, State & Local Governments that are responsible for it," Mr Thomson said.

 

"One of the concerns raised with me by many community organisations has been the loss of co-operation with fellow agencies as a result of having to compete for funds. This is a negative consequence that I don't believe National Competition Policy was intended to achieve," Mr Thomson concluded.

 

Authorised by Gary Gray, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.