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Competition Law Reading Room

ACCC: Future Directions

Rod Sims
The Law Council Competition and Consumer Workshop 2011
27 August 2011, Gold Coast
[First major address as ACCC Chairman]

 

Extract

'I now want today to focus on the following perspectives.

1. First, as an enforcement agency, the ACCC will be strategic and it will take on more cases where the outcome may be less predictable. It also will ensure the broader community knows what it is doing and, equally important, why.

2. Second, the ACCC, will make full use of the ACL and, over time, outline more clearly how and when we will use our relatively new powers.

3. Third, the ACCC will take a co-ordinated approach under the Act and across the organisation as a whole.

4. Fourth, while our core responsibility is compliance, enforcement and regulation the ACCC will, when appropriate, be an important advocate for legislative change, but we will be clear that we are but one legitimate voice among many.

5. Fifth, while the vast majority of share acquisitions or mergers will continue to be approved, the ACCC will be vigilant in ensuring they do not bring a substantial lessening of competition.

6. Sixth, recognising that competition policy extends beyond anti-trust issues, the ACCC will, when appropriate, also contribute more broadly on wider competition issues.

7. Finally, I will leave you with my two high level goals for the ACCC.

...

Finally, my two high level goals for the ACCC.

The first goal was left by Graeme Samuel. ...The strength of the ACCC must be guarded and nurtured with care, and I intend to do this in my role as Chairman.

The second goal is even more important. It is that Australians see that a market economy and strong competition works for them and that they see the ACCC working tirelessly for the long run interests of consumers. For many Australians this is a time of considerable economic uncertainty. For many, such uncertainty will cause them to question the merits of greater competition. On the basis of a clear understanding of people’s fears, the ACCC will be a strong voice for the benefits of competition across the economy and its benefits for consumers....'

Commentary

Assoc Prof Caron Beaton-Wells has a new item in The Conversation discussing the recent speech given by Rod Sims at the annual LCA workshop. View article.

 

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