Exposure Draft: Price Signalling Bill

The Government has released an exposure draft of its proposed Competition and Consumer Amendment Bill (No.1) 2011. The exposure draft legislation is part of the Competitive and Sustainable Banking System Package, and sets out the proposed amendments to the Trade Practices Act 1974 (to be referred to as the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 from 1 January 2011) to address anti-competitive “price signalling” and information exchanges.

The draft prohibits both the private disclosure of pricing information between competitors and disclosures which take place in the public domain and/or are related to information other than pricing information if they were made with the purpose of substantially lessening competition.

The law if passed will apply initially to the banking sector, but the Government has indicated it may apply it to other sectors in the future.

Consequences for breach of the legislation by a corporation would include a fine of up to $10 million.

The price signalling bill introduced by the Opposition on 22 November 2010 has been referred to the House of Representatives Economics Committee for inquiry.

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