​​Media Release

“Effects test” a win for farmers and small business

16 March 2016

The Coalition Government is delivering on a major element of the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper and the Harper Competition Policy Review and will introduce changes to misuse of market power provisions in the Competition and Consumer Act (CCA).

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said that the reforms to the CCA announced today by the Prime Minister, Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer will be welcomed by thousands of farmers and small and medium enterprises across Australia. 

“The Coalition Government has listened to the overwhelming view of agricultural and small business stakeholders and will formally adopt an ‘effects test’ to protect them against misuse of market power and anti-competitive behaviour,” Minister Joyce said today.

These reforms will address a long-standing weakness in the existing competition rules and will ensure that we have a more transparent and competitive marketplace that treats all supply chain participants fairly.

“Importantly, and for the first time in Australia, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will have meaningful provisions to protect businesses that have been subject to misuse of market power.

In line with the Harper Review’s recommendations, the substantive changes being proposed to section 46 of the CCA mean that conduct that has the effect of substantially lessening competition will be better regulated.

“I note that the current Chair of the ACCC, Rod Simms, has been calling for these stronger provisions and former Chair Allan Fels also strongly supports these changes.”

Minister Joyce said that the government consulted widely with stakeholders on the design of these reforms and was confident that they would deliver fairness to businesses and a genuinely competitive marketplace for consumers.