Rod Sims: economic perspective on competition policy


The ACCC chairman makes his case for seizing the opportunity of a landmark review of competition policy and re-examine the misuse of market power provisions in the legislation.

The Competition Policy Review appropriately has a wide terms of reference. The review panel has done an excellent job in identifying areas for reform that, if implemented, will result in significant improvements in productivity and the living standards of Australians.

Some of the Harper Review Panel’s draft proposals have gained less attention than they deserve.

The Harper Review Panel has proposed reforms to the delivery of human services; cost-reflective road pricing; removing cabotage restrictions on coastal shipping; de-regulating trading hours recognising that internet trading never stops; and so on. These are important microeconomic reforms.

In a recent speech, Ken Henry linked the important microeconomic reforms during the 1980s and 1990s to mercantilism. Ken reminded us that Adam Smith in 1776 pointed out that the then prevailing mercantilism was completely misguided.

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