Competition refers to the process of businesses competing with each other to sell goods and services to consumers at the lowest possible prices. In a competitive market, businesses are incentivized to innovate, improve efficiency and provide better products and services to consumers, leading to overall better prices and quality.
In Australia, competition is governed by the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (CCA) and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which is responsible for enforcing the CCA.
The CCA is a federal law that promotes fair competition and the protection of consumer rights. The Act includes provisions that prohibit anti-competitive conduct, such as cartel conduct, exclusive dealing, and misleading and deceptive conduct. It also has a provision for merger control to prevent mergers that would substantially lessen competition.
The ACCC has powers to investigate, prosecute and take legal action against businesses and individuals that engage in anti-competitive conduct or breach consumer protection laws. It also provides guidelines and advice to businesses to assist them in understanding their obligations under the Act.
Additionally, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has powers to investigate and enforce laws related to competition and consumer protection in the financial services sector, such as insider trading and misleading conduct.
Overall, the competition laws in Australia aim to promote fair competition and protect consumers by ensuring that businesses compete on a level playing field and that consumers have access to accurate and truthful information when making purchasing decisions.