This is how you do it: Fels’ plan to stop price gouging

This is how you do it: Fels’ plan to stop price gouging

This is how you do it: Fels’ plan to stop price gouging

HOW ALLAN FELS SAYS AUSTRALIA CAN STOP PRICE GOUGING

A NATIONAL WATCHDOG:

* Establish a national competition and prices commission, which has a “standing review” of the market and examines the reasons behind high prices

* The watchdog would not replace the competition regulator, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

* Instead, it would take some of the pressure off the regulator as it continues its enforcement role and performs some price studies

STRENGTHEN COMPETITION LAW:

* Strengthen Australia’s competition law and policy by boosting the provisions of the merger test to stop more potentially anti-competitive mergers

* Reverse the onus of proof in merger cases, as recommended by the competition regulator

* Introduce a law that means big businesses found to have breached competition laws are able to be broken up

* Revive the national competition policy (the government is currently preparing one)

* Shorten Australia’s competition provisions, which are about 20,000 words

INCREASE BANKING PORTABILITY:

* Force banks to make accounts fully portable so customers can switch banks in the same way they can switch telecommunications providers and retain their same phone numbers

* Follow the competition regulator’s advice and make banks more transparent, comparable and proactive in how they alert customers and the public about changes in deposit and bonus rates

REVIEW THE ENERGY MARKET:

* Review the wholesale energy market to see whether it should be redesigned or switched to a system of a capacity market like in the US and Western Australia

* Give the Australian Securities and Investments Commission a ministerial direction to investigate the energy derivatives market to ensure players are not misusing their positions

STOP PAYING MORE FOR ELECTRIC VEHICLES:

* Remove the unwarranted “parallel import restriction” on electric vehicles, which means Australians pay more for them than people in New Zealand

* Removing the restriction would lead to electric vehicle prices in Australia falling by about $10,000 and benefit the environment

REVIEW AND STRENGTHEN SUPERMARKET POLICIES:

* Conduct an in-depth review of supermarkets (the government has accepted this)

* Make the grocery code of conduct mandatory and legally enforceable by the competition regulator

KEEP A CLOSE EYE ON EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION AND CARE:

* Give the competition regulator the power to investigate pricing decisions made by for-profit providers to ensure they are not involved in gaming

* Have the competition regulator continuously review prices in disability care, disability support and aged care

REGULATE AVIATION PRICES:

* Regulate airport prices in the same way other utility prices are regulated

* Take advantage of the government’s existing aviation review by removing international and domestic restrictions on competition

* Review any remaining restrictions under the treasury-led competition policy review

STUDY MEDICAL SPECIALIST FEES:

* Study medical specialist fees in Australia both at a national competition policy level and through a review by the competition regulator or the Productivity Commission

Source: Inquiry into price gouging and unfair pricing practices final report, ACTU

 

Cassandra Morgan
(Australian Associated Press)



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