House of Representatives Committees

Standing Committee on Economics, Finance and Public Administration

Inquiry into aspects of the National Competition Policy Reform Package

Terms of reference

Background

The Commonwealth, State and Territory governments have agreed to implement national competition policy reforms through co-operative arrangements involving Commonwealth and State legislation, and three Intergovernmental Agreements.

The Commonwealth Parliament has passed the Competition Policy Reform Act, which is the principal legislative instrument for implementing these reforms. State and Territory Governments have enacted legislation to apply the Competition Code (a personalised version of Part IV of the Trade Practices Act) contained in that Act in their jurisdictions.

As required by the Competition Principles Agreement, the Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments published policy statements on the implementation of elements of that Agreement by June 1996.

The Committee's report will assist Governments to address concerns which have been expressed about the means of implementing aspects of the competition policy reforms.

Terms of Reference

1. The Committee is to consider appropriate means, including review processes, for applying the 'public interest' tests included in the Competition Principles Agreement.

These tests are a critical feature of this Agreement. They are described in Principle 1(3), which provides that:

Without limiting the matters that may be taken into account, where this Agreement calls:

2. The Committee will have particular regard to the impact of competition policy reform on the efficient delivery of community service obligations including an assessment of:

3. The Committee will also examine the implications of competition policy reform for the efficient delivery of services by local government, including arrangements that have been developed between State Governments and local government authorities for the implementation of the Competition Principles Agreement.

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