Harper reforms to Australian competition law in effect from today

06 Nov 2017

From today, businesses operating in Australia must comply with new laws governing misuse of market power, concerted practices, and cartels, following the commencement of the Harper reforms, embodied in:

  • the Competition and Consumer Amendment (Competition Policy Review) Act; and
  • the Competition and Consumer Amendment (Misuse of Market Power) Act.

And from today third line forcing is no longer an outright prohibition. Any third line or third party bundling arrangements and similar will, in the future, be only at risk if they significantly affect competition in the relevant market. As a result, most of these co- promotion arrangements will likely not need to be notified to the ACCC, which  was previously a common practice.

If you haven't already, you need to review multiple points in your business to ensure you do not breach the new laws (or, indeed, can engage in conduct which was previously prohibited).

The ACCC has also released its interim guidelines on the new section 46 and concerted practices for public consultation, with submissions due by 5pm, Friday 24 November 2017.

If you'd like any help in complying with the new laws, or understanding the ACCC's proposed guidelines, please contact us.

Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this communication. Persons listed may not be admitted in all States and Territories.