This is the Business Council of Australia’s submission in response to the Treasury’s consultation on the government’s response to the ACCC’s Digital Platforms Services Inquiry Report No. 5.
The BCA agrees it is worthwhile examining whether existing legislative and regulatory frameworks are suitable as technology evolves. Key to this is ensuring that we can continue to access the benefits these technologies provide. They exist and are widely used because they empower consumers, and deliver what Australians want.
If Australia is going to maintain our high standard of living, and be a high wage, high productivity economy, government regulation must ensure any new measures are proportionate and appropriately targeted. Any measures that fail this test should not proceed.
This consultation is contemplating new consumer and competition measures.
The BCA supports additional effort to ensure Australian’s have high quality consumer protection measures. This effort needs to be done in collaboration with businesses, who all remain strongly committed to addressing scams and preventing consumer harms. This is an area where substantial investments are already being made by businesses across the economy, and new measures should build on these investments.
However, the creation of a new ex ante framework for competition matters should be approached with caution. If badly formulated, it will stifle innovation, investment, and growth, while also likely inadvertently capturing operators or industries that are not of concern.
Australia is in the fortunate position of being able to observe how similar frameworks will work in overseas jurisdictions, to understand whether this type of regime is effective and delivers on the outcomes intended. Government must take this opportunity to learn from the overseas experience, to properly assess whether the frameworks are successful.