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.

FREE membership to The Mandarin

Receive unlimited access, get all the latest public sector news and features, plus The Juice, our daily news update sent direct to your inbox.

The Mandarin is where Australia's public sector leaders discuss their work and the issues faced within modern bureaucracy. Join today to discover the latest in public administration thinking and news from our dedicated reporters, current and former agency heads and senior executives.