Margaret Quirk

Margaret Quirk

Minister for Corrective Services; Small Business

    Fels' response out of touch with small business reality

    21/09/2007 8:00 PM

    Comments by the former head of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Professor Allan Fels, about amendments to the Trade Practices Act, are out of touch with the reality facing small business across Australia.

    Western Australian Small Business Minister Margaret Quirk said Professor Fels, who recently retired from the ACCC, was wrong to say the recently announced changes to the Act were anti-competitive and could stop all forms of discounting.

    “For Professor Fels to suggest that the pendulum had swung too far demonstrates how out of touch he is with the marketplace,” Ms Quirk said.

    “At the recent Small Business Ministerial Council Meeting held on July 27, State and Territory Ministers called on the Australian Government to consult further on the amendments to the Trade Practices Act.

    “The view unanimously expressed was that the Australian Government’s amendments were simply too little too late.

    “It is disappointing that the full recommendations of the Dawson Review of the Act had not been enacted as part of this process.

    “Professor Fels’ comments illustrate the inadequacy of the consultation process undertaken by the Australian Government in enacting amendments to the Act.”

    The Minister said it should be remembered that small business was not against legitimate discounting to facilitate competition, however below-cost pricing aimed at destroying competition was an entirely different matter.

    Minister's office: 9213 7000