This is the Business Council of Australia’s submission to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on the Discussion Paper for Interim Report No. 5 of the ongoing Digital Platforms Services Inquiry.
We support the ACCC striving to enhance the welfare of Australians through the promotion of competition. However, this needs to be done in a way that is appropriately targeted and proportionate to address specific concerns or problems, and is based on well established principles in defining and articulating the markets and sectors under examination.
Any new regulatory framework for digital platforms, as for any other sector, should be underpinned by a sound set of principles and priorities. We support the development of a wider set of principles and priorities for the regulation of the digital economy being developed by policy agencies – such as the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet – to ensure regulatory agencies’ actions and advice are informed by government’s policy direction to the benefit of all Australians.
The Business Council strongly disagrees with the ACCC’s proposed changes to mergers and acquisitions regimes. There is no compelling argument to support the proposed changes for digital platforms (or more broadly). The proposed changes would only result in a chilling effect on merger and acquisitions activity in Australia, harming the country’s overall prosperity.