The wrong effect (test) is to increase prices - Joint Media Release

THE WRONG EFFECT (TEST) IS TO INCREASE PRICES

Joint Media Release with Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen

Australian businesses and consumers should be concerned by the news that the Abbott Government is rushing its response to the Harper report and announcing an effects test in section 46 of the Competition and Consumer Act.

After weeks of lurching from news report to news report about the former Speaker’s travel entitlement abuses, the Prime Minister seems intent not only on making crazy economic policy, but making it on the run.

Families are already facing huge cost of living pressures as a result of this Government’s Budget cuts - and Tony Abbott is set to announce economic policy that will see Australians pay even higher prices at the checkout.

Today, Tony Abbott needs to answer a very simple question: how much will food and grocery prices increase as a result of this new red tape?

Even the author of the latest iteration of an effects test, Professor Harper, said in his final report that such a test would “involve some uncertainty” and that “uncertainty may lead to some cost”.

The last thing Australian businesses need is to be shackled with more red-tape, more uncertainty, and higher costs.

And what’s more, the Abbott Government is now planning to rush out this announcement to try to distract from a disastrous three weeks for Tony Abbott, causing even more uncertainty for the business community.

And where is Joe Hockey in all of this? He’s barely had anything to say about competition policy over the last 21 months.

This should be core business for the Treasurer who should be the one taking this submission through the Cabinet process, not leaving such important economic policy to a junior minister.

Since 1976, 10 of 12 reviews into competition policy have recommended against the introduction of an effects test.

An effects test will end up being another Tony Abbott captain’s call but with disastrous economic effects.

Apart from Bruce Billson, the key cheerleader squad for an effects test is the National Party.

This is yet another case of the National Party tail wagging the Coalition dog.

We all remember what happened last time Barnaby Joyce sat down over a beer to write up competition policy – we got the Birdsville amendment.

Leaving competition policy to a junior minister who locked in the Prime Minister a long time ago, was a major mistake of the Treasurer.

Labor has consistently been opposed to an effects test, which will chill competition in the economy and see higher consumer prices.

TUESDAY, 4 AUGUST 2015

JENNIFER RAYNER 0428 214 856


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