Anyone found guilty of price fixing and collusion could be jailed for up to five years under planned federal laws.
The draft laws, which will amend the Trade Practices Act, will cover petrol, food, clothing and a range of other consumer goods.
The proposed laws were aimed at keeping prices low and restricting anti-competitive behaviour, said Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs, Chris Bowen.
“To have a proper disincentive to do this you need to have, for serious offences, the possibility of a jail term,” Bowen told Channel 9 today. “Under the draft legislation we are looking at a maximum of five years.”
He said that heavy financial penalties would also apply.