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Telecommunications competition law amendments

The Turnbull Government today announced new legislation will be introduced to repeal the telecommunications-specific anti-competitive conduct laws of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.

The changes follow the Government’s decision to strengthen the general misuse of market power law in section 46.

The telecommunications sector-specific anti-competitive conduct rules are set out in Divisions 2 and 3 of Part XIB of the Act. With some key elements of the Part XIB rules now being reflected in the proposed changes to section 46, it is an appropriate time to repeal the Part XIB rules and streamline regulation for the sector.

Part XIB was introduced in 1997 to support the development of competition in the telecommunications sector. The rules were always intended to be transitional, supplementing general competition law until competition grew and general competition law could apply.

The telecommunications sector has changed significantly in the past 20 years and competition is much further advanced than it was at that time.

The Government is confident that broader competition law will be effective in preventing anti-competitive conduct in the telecommunications sector.

In addition, the ACCC continues to have several other regulatory mechanisms available under the access regime in Part XIC of the same Act and Telstra structural separation arrangements to address issues that may arise.

The Harper Review of Australian competition law supported the consequential repeal of Divisions 2 and 3 if section 46 is amended as proposed. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission also supports repeal of the provisions.

This decision follows the Government’s consultation process on the future operation of telecommunications laws in Part XIB in light of the changes to section 46 and consideration of submissions. These can be found at www.communications.gov.au/have-your-say/consultation-telecommunications-anti-competitive-conduct-laws

Media contact: Geraldine Mitchell | 0407 280 476 | Geraldine.Mitchell [at] communications.gov.au