The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics today tabled its report into the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Annual Reports 2019 and 2020. The report focuses on matters arising from public hearings held in October 2020 and February 2021.
Committee Chair Jason Falinski said that ‘scrutinising our competition regulator is an important function of the committee and has been especially vital at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted significant changes to the ACCC’s regulatory work and priorities.’
The committee heard from the ACCC on its responses to the pandemic across multiple sectors. Important measures such as temporary market authorisations have enabled market activity to continue to proceed in the best interests of Australians and the broader economy. The committee also heard from the ACCC regarding its work responding to COVID-related scams targeting Australians, and its management of issues arising from widespread travel cancellations.
Beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, the committee inquired into issues such as the ACCC’s role in the Digital Platforms Inquiry, the financial technology sector, unconscionable and unfair conduct, common ownership, product safety, and motor vehicle service and repair information.
Mr Falinski stated that ‘the ACCC’s work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been agile and responsive to emerging issues. While some ACCC priorities were put on hold to address these issues, it has continued to maintain substantial compliance and enforcement responsibilities across the competition and consumer law sector.’
A full copy of the committee’s report is available on the committee’s website.