Labor’s merger reforms weak and inadequate


Labor’s proposed merger reforms are weak and inadequate, and show how much the party is in the thrall of big business, the Greens say.

“This is becoming a well established pattern for Labor - giving themselves a huge pat on the back for doing the bare minimum and caving into big business demands,” Greens Economic Justice Spokesperson Senator Nick McKim said.

“Labor is just not doing enough.”

“This is Labor yet again failing to take the necessary steps to tackle the market dominance which is allowing the supermarket duopoly to gouge prices.”

“This reform will not give the ACCC the tools they need - and have asked for - to stop further concentration of market power.”

”This will not reverse the onus of proof for the substantial lessening of competition test, which means the default will remain to approve mergers.”

“The Treasurer has not substantially changed the test for assessing mergers, for example by including consideration of national market share - something which has been revealed to be critical to the misuse of market power by the supermarket duopoly.” 

“This is yet another example of Labor dancing to the tune of big business, instead of doing what is right by consumers.”

On a preliminary analysis, the Greens’ concerns with Labor’s proposal are:

  • It has not reversed the onus of proof on 'substantially lessening of competition' test. 
  • The Treasurer has not set the threshold for mergers that will need approval from the ACCC before proceeding. 
  • The ACCC has no call-in power for mergers below the threshold.
  • The Treasurer has said the 'vast majority of mergers' will be excluded from the threshold.
  • The Treasurer has not said whether supermarkets will be captured by the threshold, or how these changes will address the supermarket duopoly’s market power. 
  • The Treasurer has not substantially changed the test for assessing mergers.