With an election year upon us, the process of government did not stop over the Christmas period and we are entering the year with a range of reform consultations being finalised.
A final consultation is underway for Section 46-Misuse of Market Power, which is the most contested section of the Harper competition reforms that the government are still considering. The reform of Section 46 is the line between big business and small business and is a much contested area. The ANF has been very involved in the consultation process through a range of submissions and face-to-face consultations and we have been asked to attend one of two round tables in Melbourne on Wednesday. This is being chaired by Federal Small Business Minister Kelly O'Dwyer MP and a range of small and very large business interests have been invited, including: Insurance Australia Group, RBB Economics, Woolworths, Australian Newsagents' Federation, Business Council of Australia, AUSVEG, Australian Industry Group, Law Council-SME Committee, CHOICE, Australian Dairy Farmers, Independent Contractors Australia, ACCC, Treasury, Wesfarmers, Minter Ellison, Telstra, Council of Small Business Australia, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, National Farmers' Federation and Master Grocers Australia. The discussion will be to flesh out options presented in a discussion paper last year, which we will provide a submission to by 12 February. We expect big businesses to push back hard and it will be a hard fight to get meaningful reform that will help provide equity for small business and curb big businesses unfairly using its market power.