COSBOA is pleased to note the recent announcement by Katy Gallagher, the shadow minister for small business, on access to justice for small business people. However we continue to be extremely disappointed that they cannot support an effects test.
Peter Strong, CEO of COSBOA, said today “Access to justice for small business has always been difficult as we deal with the likes of Woolworths who are in particular noted for their low level of ethics and their ability to win legal cases by attrition not by being right. Too many business people have lost out to the dominant businesses due to big corporate pockets, low ethics and lack of care by ideologically driven policy makers.
The reason why small business has lost out is predominantly due to the lack of an effects test in competition policy. We understand that the Labor Party is insinuating that COSBOA does not support an effects test which is wrong and amounts to a ‘fake fact'. We have asked for one change, that the proposed list of mandatory factor a court might take into account before determining if a matter constitutes a misuse of market power, which is Section 46 (2), be removed. This has been supported by other associations and indeed now agreed to by the responsible Senate committee
COSBOA knows that the bigger issue in competition policy is the implementation of an up-to-date and workable effects test in Section 46 of the relevant competition Act. The current proposed legislation looks very good and will create a better environment for competition to occur and to be properly regulated by the ACCC.
Mr Strong also added “the best outcome for business and for a business environment is that it is not necessary to go to court, that businesses big and small know what is fair and right. To achieve that balance we need the new proposed Section 46 in place to make a court case less likely to happen. The recent statement made by Andrew Leigh, shadow assistant Treasurer, that “even one of the supporters of an effects test – the Council of Small Business – says that, as currently drafted, it could create a lawyer's picnic” is not COSBOA railing against an effects test; it is a normal response for a necessary change, which has now occurred. It is Labor and their main adviser on competition policy, the SDA Union, that believe the effects test will be a lawyers picnic; it won’t be due to the sensible changes recommended by COSBOA and others, agreed to by responsible parties in the Senate and soon to be instigated by the government. Nice.”
See HERE for the ALP’s media release.