A PYMNTS Company

Unveiling the Commonwealth Treasury’s Competition Taskforce: Paving the Way for Economic Resilience

 |  December 13, 2023

In response to the evolving economic landscape, the Commonwealth Treasury has launched the Competition Taskforce, a groundbreaking initiative aimed at addressing competition challenges, boosting productivity, and tackling concerns related to the cost of living. This article takes an in-depth look at the key aspects of the taskforce’s objectives and the potential impact it may have on shaping Australia’s economic future.

A New Frontier in Economic Governance

The Competition Taskforce, introduced by Assistant Minister for Competition, Andrew Leigh, marks a strategic response to the changing economic dynamics. As outlined in a recent presentation by Bezzi, the taskforce is strategically positioned within the Treasury, boasting a team of around 30 experts strategically located across Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney, Adelaide, and Brisbane.

Charting Unexplored Territories: Taskforce Objectives

The taskforce’s primary mission is to go beyond the boundaries set by existing laws, delving into new and emerging issues that impact the Australian economy. Drawing historical parallels with the influential 1993 Human Review, which significantly boosted Australia’s GDP, the taskforce underscores the importance of addressing productivity and cost-of-living concerns to foster sustainable economic growth.

Dynamic Governance in Action

Unlike traditional review processes, the Competition Taskforce adopts a dynamic and ongoing approach to providing advice to the government. Bezzi emphasized the taskforce’s commitment to data-driven, evidence-based policymaking. This includes targeted consultations with a diverse array of stakeholders, such as academics, industry experts, and government agencies.

The taskforce’s innovative edge is further accentuated by its expert advisory panel, led by Chair Kerry Schott. Comprising former agency heads, economists, lawyers, and business leaders, this panel serves as a valuable sounding board, contributing diverse perspectives to the taskforce’s initiatives.

Read more: Melbourne – 2023 – Competition Policy International

Global Vision: Placing Australia in the International Arena

In highlighting the global relevance of the taskforce’s work, Bezzi referenced ongoing competition-related reviews in leading jurisdictions, including the US, the UK, the EU, Canada, Japan, and South Korea. Aligning with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the taskforce aims to address critical issues on an international scale.

Key Focus Areas: Navigating the Challenges

The taskforce has identified several key focus areas:

  1. Mergers and Competition Laws: Bezzi acknowledged stakeholder concerns and outlined the taskforce’s exploration of potential improvements to the current merger control regime.
  2. Labor Market Issues: In a departure from the norm, the taskforce is delving into the impact of non-compete clauses on labor mobility, engaging in international research and hosting expert webinars.
  3. Changing Economy: Recognizing the challenges posed by technological advancements and the growing care economy, the taskforce is actively involved in ongoing government reviews.
  4. Aviation Industry: Addressing competition concerns in domestic aviation, the taskforce employs research, data analytics, and stakeholder engagement to formulate advice for the government.

Conclusion: Shaping Australia’s Economic Future

As Bezzi’s presentation unfolded, it became clear that the Commonwealth Treasury’s Competition Taskforce is poised to play a pivotal role in navigating the complexities of competition policy. With ongoing consultations, data-driven decision-making, and international benchmarking, the taskforce stands at the forefront of initiatives aimed at enhancing Australia’s economic resilience, productivity, and overall living standards. The taskforce’s commitment to a dynamic and evidence-based approach positions it as a key player in shaping the economic landscape for years to come.