House of Representatives Committees

Standing Committee on Economics, Finance and Public Administration

Review of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission annual report 1996-97

Press release, 9 March 1998

AGS ATTEMPT TO PROFIT FROM ACCC HIGHLIGHTED IN COMMITTEE REVIEW

'Attempts by the Australian Government Solicitor (AGS) to profit from the ACCC while accepting a subsidy from private sources with a potential vested interest was highlighted in a Committee report to Parliament today.'

'The need for greater transparency by the ACCC in s 87B takeover undertakings also was raised again.'*

The Financial Institutions Committee today tabled its Review of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission annual report 1996-97 which addresses several important aspects of the performance of the ACCC and operation of the Trade Practices Act.

David Hawker MP, Chairman of the Committee, said 'The significant powers of the Commission have profound effects on business's competitiveness both domestically and internationally and on the benefits of competition flowing through to consumers.'

'Businesses continue to be critical of the ACCC's activities, particularly in mergers and acquisitions.'

Mr Hawker said 'In its report the Committee has sought to enhance the transparency of the ACCC's activities and to ensure the Commission is accountable. The Committee has addressed the following matters:

Mr Hawker noted that 'The Government's response (tabled in the House last week) to the Committee's previous report on the ACCC has agreed to further work by the ACCC and the Productivity Commission on the last three matters outlined above.'

'The ACCC's activities have the potential to encourage large and lasting benefits from competition reform to flow through to the Australian community. The Committee's report is designed to assist in ensuring these benefits are forthcoming' concluded Mr Hawker.

Ends
9 March 1998
Email: EFPA.Reps@aph.gov.au

* Note: s 87B undertakings can be accepted by the ACCC when businesses agree that they will cease particular conduct or undertake specific action to redress action that may have breached the Trade Practices Act.

Further information:
David Hawker, MP (Chairman) Parliament House (02) 6277 4100
Bev Forbes (Inquiry Secretary) (02) 6277 4587

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