Treasurer the Hon. Scott Morrison, today released a discussion paper on section 46 of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 - the misuse of market power provision.
As noted in the Government's response to the Harper Review handed down last month, we are embarking on a further and final round of consultation on section 46. This discussion paper will aim to encourage debate on the Harper Review proposal to strengthen the provision.
This is an issue on which many people have strong views and it is important those views are heard on a range of options, not only that recommended by the Harper Review.
The section 46 debate had devolved into a binary argument - either the 'full Harper' or the 'no Harper'. But there are a range of points that exist between those two options that could reinvigorate the debate on the Harper Review's proposal with a view to bringing parties closer together on the misuse of market power provision.
The Government acknowledges concerns about the operation of the provision and the need to ensure it enhances, rather than inhibits competition. For this reason, we want to explore all the options available.
This final round of consultation provides a range of options for change and the Government encourages stakeholders to engage in the consultation process.
The Government will consider the outcome of the consultation in reaching a decision on the Harper Review's recommendation. The Government will announce a final position by the end of March 2016.
Comments on the discussion paper are due by 12 February 2016. Full details of the consultation process are available on the Treasury website.