New legislation designed to strengthen predatory pricing laws should result in more successful prosecutions of big business bullies, competition watchdog chief Graeme Samuel says.
Samuel told an audience at the Council of Small Business of Australia national summit in Sydney yesterday that, once passed, the new laws should result in more winnable cases being able to proceed.
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“By identifying the real impediments that have prevented the law from functioning properly, the Government is promising to clear aside the last remaining major blockages that have prevented more successful cases from flowing,” he says.
Samuel says the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has not changed its position that it will take action where there is a reasonable chance of success, but the new laws should result in more cases meeting that test.
“The ACCC will be actively seeking out appropriate test cases as they arise to further strengthen these protections for small business,” Samuel says.
The comments could mean the ACCC and Samuel will come under close scrutiny to meet expectations of more predatory pricing prosecutions down the track – provided he is reappointed as ACCC chairman later this year.
A draft version of the legislation, which was largely based on ACCC recommendations, is expected to be introduced into Federal Parliament during the Spring sitting session that mainly falls between September and November this year.
Once passed, the new legislation will also see the demise of National Senator Barnaby Joyce’s Birdsville amendment; laws introduced to combat predatory pricing by the Coalition last year that some still believe would provide more effective protection to small business.
But Samuel yesterday took a swipe at the Birdsville amendment, describing it as an “ill-conceived” law, the effect of which would only have become clear after years of litigation.
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