An amendment to the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 has passed the Senate, leaving small businesses hopeful of fairer competition in the marketplace.
The amendment to section 46 of the act will protect the competition process and address many of the concerns small businesses currently have in regards to anti competitive conduct.
Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell, has welcomed the passing of an “effects test”, which reframes Section 46 of the Competition and Consumer Act.
“This levels the playing field for small business and safeguards competition,” Carnell said.
The Ombudsman said the legislation will stop large businesses with significant market power from using that power to impact upon a market with adverse consequences for competitors.
“It doesn’t stifle price discounting or loss-leading behavior,” said Carnell. “The introduction of an effects test that lowers the threshold for establishing misuse of market power enhances fairness and effective competition.”
The Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) long time advocates of the changes has applauded the government for finally amending the Act.
“We commend the Government for introducing the changes we have been fighting for; changes that will better protect small business in a more equitable, competitive market,” IPA chief executive officer, Andrew Conway.
“The amendment will help address anti-competitive conduct and protect the competition process rather than the interests of individual players in the market. This is particularly important to small business.
The IPA said the change will go a long way in forming a fairer playing field.
“Considering 97 per cent of all Australian businesses is made up of small businesses, this is a huge win.”