Improving Competition by Empowering Consumers and Small Businesses - Media Release

Joint Media Release with
Julie Collins MP
Minister for Housing
Minister for Homelessness
Minister for Small Business


Consumer and small business advocates will now have special powers to raise significant and systemic issues with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for investigation.

As part of its Better Competition election commitment, the Albanese Government is introducing legislation to establish a new designated complaints function within the ACCC.

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National Multicultural Festival - Speech

National Multicultural Festival
Constituency Statements, House of Representatives
Wednesday, 14th of February 2024 

Canberra's multicultural story goes back to the 1940s, when skilled migrants flocked to the capital region to work on the Snowy Mountains Scheme. When Canberra Week began in 1977, it starred Al Grassby, the godfather of Australian multiculturalism, and honoured the First Nations and migrant communities. The National Multicultural Festival began in 1996 and has become our city 's largest festival, drawing support from volunteers in the diplomatic corps.

This weekend Canberra will celebrate the National Multicultural Festival, the event made possible by the dedication of numerous communities. I want to acknowledge some of the unsung heroes today: Andrew Yan and Robert Feng from the Chinese showcase; Jo Chivers and Duncan Smith from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander showcase; Toa Takiari and Elena Sione from the Pacific Islander showcase; Deepak Raj Gupta from India in the City; Tracy Dennis from the European village; George Karkazis from Greek Glendi; Lauren Harvey from Contact Canberra; Gonzales Olmos from Latin American Quarters; Bianca Abreu from Latin American embassies; Trevlyn Gilmour and Alicia Doherty from the USA showcase; Brooke Thomas from the belly-dancing showcase; Charles Koker from the African village; Malcolm Buchanan from the Celtic Irish showcase; Jacqui Dillon and Mandy Scott from community languages; Franco Papandrea from the Italian community; Suren Deonarain from the festival parade; Helen Musa from City News; and Lee Donnelly from Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets.

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Cost Of Living Tax Cuts - Speech

Treasury Laws Amendment (Cost Of Living Tax Cuts) Bill 2024
Treasury Laws Amendment (Cost Of Living—Medicare Levy) Bill 2024
Second Reading Speech
House of Representatives, 14th of February 2024

More people working, more people earning more, more people keeping more of what they earn. That's what's happening with Labor's bigger, better, fairer tax cuts. These tax cuts are better for workers, better for women and better for labour supply. Despite all the hand-wringing from those opposite, in their guts, the Liberal and National parties will back these cuts. They'll do so because they know that 84 per cent of taxpayers will be better off. They know that the average taxpayer is getting double the tax cut under this plan.

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Increasing Global Tax Transparency - Media Release


The Albanese Government is delivering on its promise to make multinational companies pay their fair share with consultations opening on exposure draft legislation to establish one of the world’s most comprehensive public country-by-country reporting regimes.

Public country-by-country reporting will provide the community with a better understanding of how much tax multinationals pay relative to their activities. It puts the onus on multinationals to be upfront about where they pay tax and how they plan their tax strategies. 

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Merger Policy is Critical - Opinion Piece


Everyone benefits from healthy competition

Competition is about giving Australians more choice.

For workers, genuine competition between businesses provides greater opportunities to switch jobs, allowing them to make the most of their skills and secure better pay and conditions.

For consumers, competition provides more choice, allowing people to shop around and find better-value products and services. There is no better tool than competition policy for keeping real prices down.

Competition is also crucial if Australia is to make the most of the big shifts around digitalisation, growth in the care economy and the net zero transformation.

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Media Release - Keeping the AIS in Canberra is a Win for Australian Sport

Joint Media Release with
Alicia Payne
Member for Canberra

David Smith
Member for Bean



As the federal representatives of the ACT’s three federal electorates, we welcome the Government’s decision to accept the recommendation of the Independent Review into the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) Infrastructure to keep the AIS in Canberra. 

As we argued in our joint submission to the Independent Reviewers, Ms Erin Flaherty and Ms Robyn Smith OAM; the AIS has a proud history of sporting excellence and its future is in Canberra.

Keeping the AIS in Canberra avoids the considerable costs of relocation and allows those resources to instead be reinvested in upgrading and updating its facilities. It involves less disruption to the training regimes of athletes preparing for upcoming Olympic and Paralympic games.

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Using Artificial Intelligence For Economic Research: An Agricultural Odyssey

Using Artificial Intelligence For Economic Research: An Agricultural Odyssey

68th Annual Conference of the Australasian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society
Australian National University, Canberra
7 February 2024

I acknowledge the Ngunnawal people on whose lands we're meeting today and acknowledge all First Nations people present.

I am delighted to be here with you this morning to address the 68th Annual Conference of the Australasian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society. Founded in 1957, the Society has a long history of supporting economists and social scientists in Australasia to develop the knowledge and networks to tackle key challenges in applied economics, from agriculture to environment, to food, resources and agribusiness.

It's a pleasure to be back on the Australian National University campus for today’s conference. Not since 2010 have I been an economics professor, but I occasionally get to play one on stage. As you’ll soon see, I’ve leaned into that role today. Thank you for giving me the chance to crunch some data for your edification and entertainment. I haven’t written many economics papers that touch on agricultural issues, so I like to think that my teachers at James Ruse Agricultural High School would appreciate me finally putting my schooling to good use.

One of the pleasures of being an economist is analysing real-world problems. Yet the tools and techniques for conducting applied economic research are changing fast.
Today, I want to briefly discuss some of the opportunities and challenges that machine-learning algorithms present for applied economic research, and how those show up when we use them seeking to analyse the world. 
This is vital because how we conduct economic research will drive our responses to critical issues confronting the Australasian and global community, such as biosecurity, climate change, environmental degradation and energy system transitions.

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Why Many Pay Too Much For Flights, And How To Make Them More Affordable - Opinion Piece


A high-performing aviation sector is critical to Australia's way of life, connecting people and communities, while supporting economic activity and employment across regions.

Australia accounts for around 1.7 cent of global economic activity. Given this, we benefit greatly from adopting and modifying innovation from overseas. Swiftly bringing new ideas and products into our economy has been a major driver of economic growth for decades - and will continue to be so into the future. Travel is an important mechanism for sharing ideas, even in a post-pandemic world.

A healthy aviation sector means we can be better connected to the rest of the world, better equipped to adopt innovations and better able to help diffuse new ideas within Australia. In short, the aviation sector has large spillovers to other sectors, not just in obvious areas like tourism but right across the economy.

Using detailed microdata from the private sector and the Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics, Omer Majeed from the Competition Taskforce in Treasury has teamed up with Professor Robert Breunig at the Australian National University to examine how competition has changed over time and the impact on aviation activity and prices. In an Australian context, it adds to the relatively limited evidence base demonstrating the relationship between competitive pressures and consumer prices.

The results show a strong relationship between competition and airfares. When one airline services a route, airfares average 39.6c per kilometre. With two competing airlines, the average fare drops to 28.2c. With three competitors, to 19.2c. In other words, the price per kilometre is halved when three competitors fly a route compared with the situation when there is only a single monopoly airline. With four or five competitors, the price drops further still.

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Government launches ACCC inquiry into supermarket prices - Media Release

Joint media release with
The Hon Jim Chalmers MP

The Albanese Government has formally issued a direction to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to investigate pricing and competition in the supermarket sector to ensure Australians are paying a fair price for their groceries.

The inquiry – the first of its kind since 2008 – will investigate the competitiveness of retail prices and allegations of price gouging in the supermarket sector.

It’s an important part of the Government’s broader efforts to boost competition and put downward pressure on the price of essentials for Australians, including a review of the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct and the Competition Review’s focus on cost‑of‑living initiatives.

Matters to be considered by the ACCC will include, but will not be limited to:

  1. The current structure of the supermarket industry at the supply, wholesale and retail levels;
  2. Competition in the industry and how it has changed since 2008, including the growth of online shopping;
  3. The competitiveness of small and independent retailers, including regional and remote areas;
  4. The pricing practices of supermarkets;
  5. Factors influencing prices along the supply chain, including the difference between farmgate and supermarket prices;
  6. Any impediments to competitive pricing along the supply chain; and
  7. Other factors impacting competition, including loyalty programs and third‑party discounts.
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Getting on with the job - Opinion Piece


One of the great things about a sports-filled summer is that we get to spend plenty of time playing the armchair critic.

Unfortunately, some people take this a little too far. Nationals leader David Littleproud (SM, Jan 21) criticised Labor's actions to address the cost-of-living challenges, conveniently failing to admit that the Coalition squibbed it in government and has opposed cost-of-living relief from the opposition benches.

Since coming to office, the Albanese government has been hard at work examining Australia's competition law and policies to make up for the Coalition's negligence.

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Cnr Gungahlin Pl and Efkarpidis Street, Gungahlin ACT 2912 | 02 6247 4396 | [email protected] | Authorised by A. Leigh MP, Australian Labor Party (ACT Branch), Canberra.