COSBOA today called on the government to completely revamp competition laws and give the ACCC more power.
Peter Strong, price CEO, information pills COSBOA stated today “the decision yesterday to find Woolworths not guilty of unconscionable behaviour is extremely disappointing”
“The decision suggests that the biggest businesses rule the landscape and will get what they want, adiposity when they want it, regardless of the cost to small and medium businesses” Mr Strong said.
It also sends a message to the government that innovation in Australia cannot be rewarded while businesses like Woolworths exist.
“At least Coles had the gumption and the backbone to admit to unconscionable conduct last year and they are trying to fix the problem but now that Woolworths has shown that “might is right”, Coles too may fall back to its old unethical practices”, said Mr Strong
An OECD report from 2014 shows that Australian small and medium businesses are 5th most innovative in the world. The same report shows that Australian big businesses are only 21st in the world for innovation. The report further adds the bigger problem is bringing new ideas to market which is where Australia really struggles.
This court decision reinforces the fact that big businesses are holding back our innovators and damaging the economy.
“How can we be agile and innovate when the biggest businesses Australia has ever seen can destroy innovative firms at their will due to their dominance and the lack of imagination of their boards?”, asked Mr Strong.
This problem also extends into telecommunications which is the base upon which modern innovation is built.
Our telecommunications are the slowest and most expensive in the developed world due to dominance by one oligopoly.
“I note the Chairman of Woolworths, Gordon Cairns has condemned Rod Sims, the Chairman of the ACCC, for his comments on the courts findings” said Mr Strong.
“Our message to Mr Cairns is that he is not in a place to condemn anything; his board is a bullying group who have appear to have little regard for Australia’s economic future or prosperity.
These big oligopolies are demanding tax cuts to help businesses invest more and we support that call.
But at the same time they are killing off competition, manipulating government policy with secret letters and dealings and care nought for innovation and the future. No wonder the general public are rejecting the tax cuts as they don’t trust our biggest businesses and with good reason, they are indeed parasites and bullies.”, continued Peter
COSBOA and its members will not sit idly by as Australia’s small business people are treated like second class citizens.
This is a battle lost, but for the sake of jobs and our standard of living, we will not give up.
“Woolworths and its board are a disgrace and do not reflect Australian values, particularly a fair go for all, and their Chairman should resign his position and let someone with an Australian value system be given that role”, said Mr Strong.
Giving more power to Rod Sims and the ACCC would also help the situation.
“If laissez-faire economists and policy makers of the last twenty years had taken time to think we wouldn’t be in this situation”, Mr Strong said.
Now is the time to act - not to panic and then do nothing and rely upon the mining sector to carry us through.
“It is time for the Australian Government to step up and take a lead on competition to support their aspirations for the largest employer of Australians – the small business sector – to give life to the Australian Government’s aspiration for a more innovative and productive economy”, said Mr Strong.