The government has backed away from a major reform to competition law, in what small and medium-sized businesses are calling a “spineless” capitulation to the alleged bullying tactics of big business.
The New Daily understands the Business Council of Australia (BCA), on behalf of companies like Woolworths and Wesfarmers, threatened to launch an anti-government campaign.
Like the one waged by the mining industry against the Rudd administration, if the government went ahead with the reform.
The reform, a key recommendation of this year’s Harper Review, would have made it easier for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to intervene when a big business uses its market power to damage or decrease competition.
But on Tuesday the government announced that it was putting the reform on hold, in a move that went under the radar of most news outlets.
Coles and Woolworths have been two of the most active opponents of the ‘effects test’ reform.
Master Grocers Australia chief executive Jos de Bruin told The New Daily: “I think the BCA has been running up and down the halls of parliament and instilling fear and uncertainty, particularly amongst the people in the cabinet.