The Turnbull Government has added competition reform policy to its 2016 list of failures and broken promises by reneging on the commitment it made in its response to the Harper Review to “unleash the spirit of competition”.
This time last year new Treasurer Scott Morrison was describing competition reform as:
“one of the best options we have to boost growth and productivity in the years ahead, and this is why it’s at the heart of the Government’s economic plan.”
Now it has abandoned its support for the funding altogether until the budget “is in better shape”.
This leaves only Barnaby Joyce’s “effects test” – which will have a chilling effect on competition and drive up the cost of living for Australian families – as the Coalition's signature competition reform.
This absurd focus on the effects test, according to Productivity Commission Chairman Peter Harris, demonstrates how far Australia has, ‘fallen off the pace in national economic reform.’
When the Keating and Howard Governments adopted the recommendations of the Hilmer Competition Review in the 1990s, an estimated 2.5 per cent was added to GDP over the decade.
But this year the Turnbull Government has squandered opportunities to deliver similar reforms that could help achieve another fiscal boost.
Putting consumers first has always been the guiding principle of Labor’s approach to competition policy.
We will not abandon our commitment to fair competition policy reforms that help families doing their weekly grocery shop or paying their utility bills get a better deal.
THURSDAY, 1 DECEMBER 2016
MEDIA CONTACT: TAIMUS WERNER-GIBBINGS 0437 323 390