Abbott announces review of competition policy
The Prime Minister has announced the high-profile make-up of his Business Advisory Council as he unveiled the first review of competition policy since the Hilmer report.
The 12-member council, to be headed by former stockbroker Maurice Newman, includes only two women.
Leading business figures on the council include National Australia Bank chairman Michael Chaney, Grocon chief executive Daniel Grollo, BlueScope Steel chairman Graham Kraehe, former retailer Solomon Lew, Telstra chairwoman Catherine Livingstone and BHP chairman Jacques Nasser.
Other members include the former head of the Productivity Commission Gary Banks, John Heart of the Restaurant and Catering Association, Barry Irvin of Bega Cheese, and Jane Wilson, a company director in the health and biotechnology sectors.
Addressing the Business Council of Australia in Canberra on Wednesday night, Mr Abbott said the group would be "more than capable of guiding, encouraging and - where necessary - warning the new government as we put in place the building blocks of the stronger economy that people voted for".
The council will meet for the first time this year and then again at least three times each year.
Mr Abbott has provided the states and territories with draft terms of reference for the competition review, the first in two decades.
"It will examine not only the current laws, but the broader competition framework to increase productivity and efficiency in markets, drive benefits to ease cost of living pressures, and raise living standards for all Australians," he said.
The government argues that much has changed in the Australian economy since academic Fred Hilmer conducted the Hilmer review in 1983.
The economy has since undergone a digital revolution that is transforming the way business is being done in every sector in the country.
The role of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has been called into question as its consumer protection function is increasingly been seen as separate to or at odds with its competition responsibilities.
Also at issue is the division of responsibilities between the ACCC and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.