Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Monday, 2 May 2016
Page: 3922

Mr COLEMAN (Banks) (10:40): On behalf of the Standing Committee on Economics I present the committee's report entitled Review of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission annual report 2015 (first report) together with the minutes of proceedings.

The committee held its first public hearing with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission last February and examined its role, recent activities and priorities for the coming year. The committee also queried the ACCC on the implementation of recommendations of the competition policy review, commonly known as the Harper review, which were released in March 2015. At the hearing, the ACCC outlined its principal roles under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 as a competition, consumer and safety regulator and its additional functions in regulating monopoly infrastructure and analysing the petrol market, among others.

The committee was particularly interested in the ACCC's views on the apparent disconnect between the lowering of global oil prices and Australian petrol prices. The ACCC advised that, whereas fixed taxes and levies account for some of this disparity, there had clearly been some profit taking by both refiners and retailers. The committee notes the ACCC has engaged with the industry on this issue and that these higher margins do appear to be returning to usual levels. The ACCC must remain vigilant in this matter. The committee notes that the ACCC successfully concluded proceedings against petrol retailers in 2015 for sharing information for the purpose of keeping prices higher. The committee expects the ACCC to ensure that such anticompetitive behaviour in the petrol market, and indeed in any market, is quickly identified.

Preventing the use of substantial market power by larger businesses to engage in anticompetitive activities is a central plank of competition law. In this regard, the proposed introduction of an effects test into the Competition and Consumer Act, as recommended by the Harper review, was an important topic of discussion at the hearing. The effects test will enable the ACCC to prosecute businesses for activities that have the effect of substantially lessening competition. The committee will explore the impacts of this and other Harper review recommendations with the ACCC at future hearings. On behalf of the committee, I would like to thank the chairman of the ACCC, Mr Rod Sims, and other representatives of the ACCC for appearing at the hearing on 24 February. I commend the report to the House.

Report made a parliamentary paper in accordance with standing order 39(e).

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Broadbent ): The time allotted for statements on this report has expired. Does the member for Banks wish to move a motion in connection with the report to enable it to be debated on a future occasion?

Mr COLEMAN: I move:

That the House take note of the report.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: In accordance with standing order 39, the debate is adjourned. The resumption of the debate will be made an order of the day for the next sitting.