The BCA supports robust and effective competition law, because competition is important to maintain adequate consumer choice and to keep prices low.
Effective and proportionate restrictions on merger activity to promote competition are appropriate. The existing legislation provides such protection while ensuring that business is also provided with a regime that is workable and certain.
The current legislation, which is underpinned by a strong policy objective, is therefore preferable to either of the two options proposed in the Treasury’s September 2008 discussion paper (titled Creeping Acquisitions). This is particularly so given the risk of significant economic detriment to business investment and expansion – and ultimately, the Australian economy – by the proposal to impose uncertain assessments of acquisitions into the competition laws.
Proposals to amend the competition laws for creeping acquisitions may directly contradict commitments in regard to achieving significant deregulation. Any amendments that may stifle ordinary and legitimate commercial conduct or competition should be avoided.