Corporates will face an increased level of scrutiny with the Liberal-National Government committing an additional $35 million to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to boost its capabilities.
Sixteen additional investigators will be on the beat as a result of this investment which is expected to result in an increase in cartel prosecutions and greater capacity to investigate competition issues, particularly in the financial sector.
This includes six new investigators in the ACCC’s Cartels Unit, taking the unit to a total 30 of investigators. The new, specialist investigators will undertake intensive case work with legal teams, which the ACCC expects will result in further prosecutions of criminal cartels.
It also includes 10 new investigators in the ACCC’s anti-competitive conduct teams, which the ACCC expects will result in an at least two major competition cases in the court each year.
This investment will ensure the ACCC can continue to protect Australians against cartel and anti-competitive behaviour that comes at the expense of other Australian businesses and consumers by denying them a competitive market place.
Over the past two years, the ACCC has been a tough cop on the beat, recording a number of successful actions targeting cartel and anti-competitive behaviour, from major Australian banks to the international shipping industry. The ACCC’s actions have resulted in cartel penalties of over $170 million in the past two years.
A Resource Review of the ACCC will also be undertaken to ensure it is appropriately funded for the critical work that it does in protecting consumers and enhancing competition across our economy.
Ensuring the ACCC is well resourced to protect consumers and to tackle cartel and anti-competitive is part of our plan for a stronger economy.