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The impact of the national competition policy on the marketing of agricultural products in Western Australia

Mangano, Maria C. (1998) The impact of the national competition policy on the marketing of agricultural products in Western Australia. Masters by Research thesis, Murdoch University.

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This thesis examines the effect on statutory marketing authorities (SMAs) in Western Australia of the implementation of the national Competition Policy Reform Act, 1995 as an amendment to the Trade Practices Act, 1974 (TPA). The original Act lacked the scope necessary to ensure that all business activity in Australia, and in particular the operations of statutory marketing bodies, was subject to its provisions.

The main catalyst for reform of Australia’s competition policy came with the presentation of the Report by the Independent Committee of Inquiry headed by Professor Fred Hilmer in 1993. The recommendations of the Committee were later put to the Council of Australian Governments for discussion and, once the various agreements were drawn up, new Federal legislation was enacted bringing together the various reforms. The Competition Policy Reform Act, 1995 was designed to put into practice a more national and comprehensive approach to competition policy.

Under this new legislation the activities of SMAs have been called into question, where those activities are found to be anti-competitive and are not in the public interest. In fact, where a SMA conducts ‘business’ activity it is now subject to the new legislation, without the former protection afforded by the ‘shield of the Crown’ doctrine. Unless it can be proven that their anti-competitive conduct is in the public interest, SMAs face the same penalties faced by private enterprises for breach of the TPA.

Consideration of each of the seven Western Australian SMAs in this thesis highlights the point that in order to comply with the new regime their legislation will be either amended or repealed entirely. This thesis also examines the operations of the SMAs and shows how they frustrate the intention of competition policy. It then explains to what extent their legislation has been reviewed to date, what changes are expected to be made to the legislation by the respective review dates, and also the reasons why there exists resistance to change within some SMAs. This analysis is all set in the context of an economy-wide move to greater reliance on competitive markets rather than direct government regulation of economic activity.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Research)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Division of Business, Information Technology and Law
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Harman, Frank
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