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ECONOMICS—STANDING COMMITTEE—REFERENCE

Senator Xenophon amended business of the Senate notice of motion no. 2 by leave and, pursuant to notice of motion not objected to as a formal motion, moved—That the following matters be referred to the Economics Committee for inquiry and report by 26 February 2009:

 (a) the economic, social and employment impacts of the recent mergers among Australian banks;

 (b) the measures available to enforce the conditions on the Westpac Banking Corporation/St George Bank Limited merger and any conditions placed on future bank mergers;


 (c) the capacity for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to enforce divestiture in the banking sector if it finds insufficient competition;

 (d) the adequacy of section 50 of the Trade Practices Act 1974 in preventing further concentration of the Australian banking sector, with specific reference to the merits of a `public benefit' assessment for mergers;

 (e) the impact of mergers on consumer choice;

 (f) the extent to which Australian banks have `off-shored' services such as credit card and loan processing, information technology, finance and payroll functions;

 (g) the impact `off-shoring' has on employment for Australians; and

 (h) alternative approaches to applying section 50 of the Trade Practices Act 1974 in respect of future mergers, with a focus on alternative approaches to measuring competition.

Question put and passed.