ROYAL AUSTRALIAN MINT’S NEW EXHIBITION CELEBRATES CHANGE IN ALL ITS FORMS
The Royal Australian Mint (the Mint) and the Cultural Facilities Corporation (CFC) are excited to announce that the Mint’s highly-popular coin shop and exclusive new off-site exhibition, Change in your Pocket, are now open at Canberra Museum and Gallery (CMAG) in Civic Square.
The Mint’s temporary new inner-city location and gift shop enables its many thousands of annual visitors to continue enjoying its exhibition and education programs and to buy coins and other souvenirs in a brand new setting while the Mint’s Deakin building undergoes extensive refurbishment.Read more
ABC RADIO NATIONAL WITH PATRICIA KARVELAS
THURSDAY, 22 FEBRUARY 2024
SUBJECTS: Government’s response to lack of competition in supermarket sector, CHOICE quarterly price monitoring of grocery prices, Review of Food and Grocery Code, Mergers policy consultations, ANZ/Suncorp decision, Impact of non-compete clauses on wages.
PATRICIA KARVELAS, HOST: Australia is in the middle of a big competition debate. Why is that important? Because a lack of competition in the economy is helping to drive up prices in all areas – from supermarkets to banking to energy to our domestic and overseas flights, according to many experts. The Government says it wants to overhaul competition laws, and the person tasked with doing that and devising a strategy is the Assistant Minister for Competition and Treasury, Andrew Leigh so we’ve invited him on the program.
Andrew Leigh, welcome.
ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR CHARITIES, COMPETITION, TREASURY, AND EMPLOYMENT ANDREW LEIGH: Thanks, Patricia. Great to be with you and your listeners.
KARVELAS: Let’s start with the supermarkets, where I think most people are very – very focused at the moment given they go to the supermarket and, you know, come back with very few items for a big price tag. There are several inquiries looking into them right now. What do you think has gone wrong?
LEIGH: Well, we’ve got a highly concentrated supermarket sector, much more concentrated than, say, Britain or the United States. One of the standard rules of economics is when you’ve got too few players you tend to have prices that are too high. One of the challenges in the past has been the heavy squeezing of suppliers, and most of the focus in supermarket policy has been on the prices that suppliers receive through the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct.
Increasingly now though we’re also looking at the impact on consumers. And that’s why the Treasurer has asked the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for a report on supermarket pricing. We’ll have an interim report by the end of August.
And we’ve also asked CHOICE to engage in quarterly price monitoring so people can see where the best prices are being provided and save money on their weekly shop. Those CHOICE reports will be coming out in the coming months.
KARVELAS: Okay. You mentioned this big concentration. In the last hour we spoke with Graeme Samuel, former ACCC boss. He says we’ve got 27 million people spread out in this country and, in fact, you know, contested this idea that it’s an issue of concentration. Do you disagree with him?
LEIGH: Well, certainly the rule about concentration applies across a range of sectors and I worry, Patricia, that Australia’s market concentration has increased over recent decades. We’ve got evidence now from very good microdata – which wasn’t available a few years back – that market concentration has gone up, that markups have increased – that is the gap between costs and prices – and there’s less job switching than there was in the past, which is a problem because switching jobs is one of best ways people boost their wages. All of that points to a less dynamic economy and maybe one of the reasons why we’ve just had the lousiest decade of productivity growth in the post-war era.Read more
HOW TO GET MONEY'S WORTH OUT OF PROGRAMS
Each year thousands of patients miss their hospital appointments.
It costs money – contributes to backlogs and delays – and means that appointments cannot be allocated to others in need.
Some 15 per cent of outpatient appointments at Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital used to be missed each year, despite patients being sent reminders.Read more
NEW DATA SHOWS 1 IN 5 AUSTRALIAN EMPLOYERS USED NON-COMPETE CLAUSES
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has today released results from a survey of employers on the use of restraint clauses, revealing that 1 in 5 Australian businesses (21 per cent) used non-compete clauses for at least some of their employees in 2023.
Non-compete clauses are conditions of employment that restrict an employee’s future ability to work for a competitor or start their own business. There is growing concern internationally that these clauses are increasingly restricting workers from shifting to better paying jobs and may be hampering business innovation and productivity.
During the Coalition’s nine years in office, productivity growth stagnated and real wages flatlined. Employment terms that make it harder for workers to move to a better job may be acting as a drag on wages and economic dynamism.Read more
Peace at the Policy Table: Australia's Path Forward*
Australian Peacebuilding Network Roundtable, Canberra
Wednesday, 21 February 2024
I acknowledge the Ngunnawal people, on whose lands we are meeting today, and to all First Nations people present.
I acknowledge Kate Wallace, First Assistant Secretary of the Multilateral Policy, First Nations and Human Rights Division at DFAT and Dr Tania Miletic, Deputy Director of the Initiative for Peacebuilding at the University of Melbourne — thank you for the warm introduction.
Thank you to John Langmore for the invitation to address today’s Australian Peacebuilding Network Roundtable. John is Professorial Fellow and Chair of the Initiative for Peacebuilding Board at the University of Melbourne. He is also my predecessor, having served as member for Fraser, my former electorate, from 1984 to 1996. In 1988, I was lucky enough to do work experience for John for a fortnight. This ‘New’ Parliament House had just opened, and it was a delight for an idealistic, politically engaged 16-year-old to work in John’s office. He was generous with his time, thoughtful in providing me with interesting work, and optimistic about the power of good policy to change lives for the better. Since leaving parliament, John has been an engaged and energetic contributor to the policy debate – a role model as to what a post-political life can contribute to Australia.
Today I will focus on how Australians have contributed their ideas and vision to shaping the field of peacebuilding. And as you begin discussions, I hope you find inspiration in these stories.Read more
Dr Craig Emerson, Sally Mcmahon And Katrina Groshinski Appointed To National Competition Council - Media Release
DR CRAIG EMERSON, SALLY MCMAHON AND KATRINA GROSHINSKI APPOINTED TO NATIONAL COMPETITION COUNCIL
The Albanese Government has appointed Dr Craig Emerson and Ms Sally McMahon and reappointed Ms Katrina Groshinski as a part-time Councillors to the National Competition Council each from 23 February 2024 until 17 August 2025.
Dr Emerson was the Federal Minister for Small Business from 2007-2010 and Minister for Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs from 2009-2010. He was the Minister for Trade from 2010-2013. He is a former Queensland Government Director-General and senior Economic Adviser to Prime Minister Hawke.
Ms McMahon has more than 25 years’ experience working across Australia and in Canada in the energy sector and industry reform. She has broad and deep experience in energy issues across markets, networks, retail and consumer protection policy and regulation with strong technical understanding of the design, application and practices of industry and economic regulation including market assessment and operation, access, efficient pricing, financial concepts, connection policy and standards of service.Read more
ABC CANBERRA BREAKFAST WITH ADAM SHIRLEY
WEDNESDAY, 21 FEBRUARY 2024
SUBJECTS: Resignation of Woolworths CEO, Government’s competition agenda.
ADAM SHIRLEY, HOST: Andrew Leigh is the Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury and Member for Fenner. Dr Leigh, thanks for your time on this breaking news today.
ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR COMPETITION, CHARITIES, TREASURY AND EMPLOYMENT ANDREW LEIGH: Pleasure Adam.
SHIRLEY: Did Brad Banducci have to go?
LEIGH: Well, it's up to him and the Board. They've clearly made a decision to move on to Amanda Bardwell and appoint her from September. I'm really focused on the competition issues and what that means for Australian shoppers, Adam. I need to make sure in the face of a cost-of-living crisis, that the supermarkets are doing the right thing by their consumers and suppliers. If this change in leadership delivers better outcomes for consumers and suppliers, then that's to the good.
SHIRLEY: Brad Banducci said at the time and he clarified with Rod Sims being the recently retired head of the Competition and Consumer Commission, basically, many saw that as throwing shade on the Commission and Rod Sims, was that reasonable and fair of the CEO of Woolworths?Read more
TUESDAY, 20 FEBRUARY 2024
SUBJECTS: Non-compete clauses in employment contracts, designated complaints to the competition watchdog, supermarket competition.
STEPHEN CENATIEMPO, HOST: Time to talk federal politics with the Member for Fenner and Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury, Andrew Leigh. Andrew, good morning.
ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR COMPETITION, CHARTIES, TREASURY AND EMPLOYMENT ANDREW LEIGH: Good morning, Stephen. Great to be with you and your listeners.Read more
ABC CANBERRA BREAKFAST WITH ADAM SHIRLEY
FRIDAY, 16 FEBRUARY 2024
SUBJECTS: Improving competition, increasing bulk billing in the ACT.
ADAM SHIRLEY, HOST: The Member for Fenner and he's also the Assistant Minister to the Treasury, Andrew Leigh, a very good morning to you.
ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR COMPETITION, CHARTIES, TREASURY AND EMPLOYMENT ANDREW LEIGH: Good morning, Adam. Great to be with you and your listeners.
SHIRLEY: I might ask you about your view on that, given, you know, numbers and, you know, Canberra and its low bulk billing rates from a practical perspective. But one thing that does matter, and it does matter a lot, is the role of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and whether it can crack down on dodgy, potentially corrupt, or at least behaviour that is against the spirit of competition. What is the new tool that consumers or businesses might have to bring their case, their concern, to the ACCC?Read more
2CC DRIVE WITH LEON DELANEY
THURSDAY, 15 FEBRUARY 2024
SUBJECTS: Improving competition, right to disconnect, unemployment, inflation.
LEON DELANEY, HOST: Joining me now, the Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities, Treasury, Employment and pretty much everything else and our local member here in the seat of Fenner, Dr Andrew Leigh. Good afternoon.
ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR COMPETITION, CHARTIES, TREASURY AND EMPLOYMENT ANDREW LEIGH: Good afternoon, Leon. Great to be with you and your listeners.
DELANEY: Well, thanks for joining us today. What does it mean, this empowerment of consumers and small businesses act?
LEIGH: We've been doing a lot on the competition front, raising penalties for anti-competitive conduct, banning unfair contract terms, setting up the Competition Taskforce, and the next brick in that wall is a reform which will ensure that designated consumer and small business advocates will be able to bring systemic misconduct to the attention of the competition watchdog and have it dealt with. Right now, a complaint that's raised by a peak body is treated the same as every other complaint that comes through. This designated complaints power, which exists in other countries, will ensure that those systemic issues can be brought forward by consumer and small business advocates and get an answer within 90 days.Read more