Fast Lane: Join SmartCompany and COSBOA’s campaign for the effects test

Fast Lane: Join SmartCompany and COSBOA's campaign for the effects test

Join our campaign – sign the petition here.


The Abbott government says small business is the “backbone of the economy” but last week the government turned its back on small business.

The long awaited competition law reform that includes the so-called “effects test” has been put on ice.

The effects test is simply a provision aimed at leveling up the playing field for small business.

It will allow legal redress for small businesses when a big business misuses market power with the purpose or likely effect of substantially lessening competition.

It’s designed to help small businesses when they find themselves in the daunting position of having to bargain with huge corporate entities that hold all the cards and have all the power.

But despite the passionate advocacy of Small Business Minister Bruce Billson, the effects test has been shelved, potentially for ever.

Last week it was partially debated by cabinet but then put on hold as the Abbott government caved under pressure from big business.

The big end of town is frightened by the effects test and is doing everything possible to stop this legislation being passed.

Powerful big business lobby groups such as the Business Council of Australia have come out strongly against the effects test, claiming it “causes uncertainty, inefficiency and discourages innovation”.

It begs the question of just what is so bad about creating an environment that is a more transparent and equitable place for small businesses to do business.

Clearly there are quite a few big businesses out there that are all too aware they have taken advantage of their market domination in the past.

An effects test for small business is not going to destroy the economy or put an end to contractual certainty.

Similar principles has been available to consumers for five years now under the unfair contracts terms law and the world has kept on turning.

Big businesses out there that are not turning the screws on the small guys have nothing to worry about under the effects test.

So today the Council of Small Business of Australia and SmartCompany are launching a campaign to call on the government to implement the effects test.

We’re asking the government not to succumb to big business pressure to scrap the effects test and to stand up for small businesses.

You can join the campaign by signing our petition calling for the implementation of the effects test.

Please share this article and let other small business owners and entrepreneurs have their say. 

The Abbott government needs to grow some backbone and deliver on what it promised to small business.



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