22. November 2010 17:35
Bruce Billson, the Shadow Minister for Small Business, Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs, introduced a private members’ bill into the House of Representatives this morning: the Competition and Consumer (Price Signalling) Amendment Bill 2010 (click here for official bill homepage with the text of bill and Explanatory Memorandum).
The key amendments proposed by the bill to the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (the new name for the TPA as of 1 January 2011) are the proposed new s 45A(1): “[a] corporation must not engage in price signalling” and s 45A(2), which defines price signalling as the communication of price-related information to a competitor (s 45A(2)(a)) for the purpose of inducing that competitor to vary a price for supply or acquisition of goods or services (s 45A(2)(b)) where that communication has the effect, or is likely to have the effect, of substantially lessening competition in a given market ((s 45A(2)(c)).
Private communication between related bodies corporate or parties to a joint venture is excluded from the prohibition, as is communication permitted by a s 88 authorisation or s 93 notification: proposed new s 45A(11).
The Australian Bankers’ Association has promptly issued a media release warning that rushing the bill through could have the result “that customers, investors and analysts would end up being uninformed or misinformed.”