Competition Law Reading Room
Price signalling legislation - the government releases its proposal
Bob Baxt AO, Nathan Kiratzis and Matthew Eglezoz
(2011) Australian Trade Practices News, Issue 628, 13 January 2011, CCH, pages 6-11
The authors discuss the potential impact of the proposed price signalling law.
The authors note that the proposed price signalling laws followed 'unrelenting public, media and political pressure to introduce reforms targeted at the perceived anti-competitiveness of the Australian banking sector ...'
The authors discuss the proposal and note that the government's proposal differs from the Coalition's in a number of respects - most notably in that it will not be of general application. The authors are cirical of the industry-specific approach to the proposed law. They are also critical of the mechanism for application of the law - industries subject to the law will be determined by regulation and these may be 'made quickly and without proper scrutiny' which may lead to uncertainty.
The authors also express concern that the per se prohibition on private price disclosures appears to extend beyond 'truly private communications' and provide some examples.
The authors note the limitations of the authorisation process - in particular, they note that price disclosures 'will often be time sensitive' making them unsuited to the lengthy authorisation process.
The authors conclude by discussing the likely 'next steps' with both the Coalition and Government price signalling bills.
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