Enhancing competition is about making a level playing field.
Rod Sims, Chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), told the Australian Conference of Economists last week that the digital platforms inquiry, consumer access to data and energy are three ’headline’ issues that are affecting Australian businesses and consumers.
“Each provokes questions about when to intervene, and when not to intervene, and each demands a different response,” he explained.
“When we choose to intervene, via enforcement cases, market studies or via general compliance activity, we do so to ensure that markets function correctly. This is important for business, consumer and investor confidence.” Sims continued.
He said the digital platform inquiry which was looking at the impact of the major digital platforms like Facebook and Google and how they have impacted traditional media.
“What is really interesting about this Inquiry is that we don’t yet know what our recommendations are likely to be. Is intervention required, and in what form?” he said.
However, he indicated that consumer right to data and the high cost of energy were issues that require intervention.
Intervention in consumer data is justified. He said that this will make it easier for consumers to switch providers when they need to.
Energy is another complex issue.
“Energy prices remain a significant source of anxiety for Australian residential users, and commercial and industrial users. The big jumps in both electricity and gas prices have hit them hard, particularly those businesses for whom energy costs are a significant input cost.”