SENATOR DEAN SMITH
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR COMPETITION, CHARITIES AND TREASURY
SENATOR FOR WESTERN AUSTRALIA
30 October 2023
LABOR’S HAND FORCED ON COMPETITION TASKFORCE
Coalition pressure has once again left the Albanese Government with no alternative but to finally move on its Competition Taskforce.
The Taskforce met for the first time today, two months after it was announced by Labor, with five new appointments to its advisory panel also released.
It follows scrutiny by Coalition Senators in last week’s Budget Estimates hearings regarding the lack of meaningful progress since the 23 August announcement.
Among them was Coalition competition spokesman Senator Dean Smith, who said this is the latest example of Labor dragging its heels on reform until its slow performance is called out.
“This is the ACCC airline monitoring 2.0, where the Private Senators Bill introduced by Senator McKenzie and I forced Labor’s hand on re-instating this important competition initiative,” Senator Smith said.
“Jim Chalmers and Andrew Leigh only act when they’re left with no choice – the way they’ve approached the Competition Taskforce is straight out of the Labor playbook.”
Senator Smith also noted that, while the Coalition would always support meaningful competition reform, key details of the Competition Taskforce remain unknown.
“The Albanese Government has refused to provide timeframes or a work plan explaining how the Taskforce will go about the demanding job ahead of it,” Senator Smith said.
“We also have no idea how the Taskforce will prioritise the sectors of the economy it’s expected to focus on.”
“Most significantly, there’s no indication when any of competition reforms identified by the Taskforce will be legislated and start providing a benefit to the Australian people.”
“To ensure taxpayers are getting efficiency and value for money when it comes to this Taskforce, Labor should map out detailed priorities and deadlines, and make them public immediately.”