The Authority is an independent Statutory Authority consisting of members appointed by the Governor in Council. While the Authority is subject to the written directions of the Ministers in performing its functions, it is not subject to government direction in relation to the conduct of investigations, reports or access to services.
The Authority's main responsibilities are to ensure that:
- Significant government business activities which compete with the private sector do so fairly (Competitive Neutrality);
- Government owned monopolies and privately owned water monopolies do not abuse their market power (Monopoly Prices Oversight); and
- Essential infrastructure is accessible to all potential users (Third Party Access).
The Authority currently works within the following industries:
The government has also assigned the Authority a variety of other responsibilities related to the implementation of competition reform. Under section 10(e) of the Queensland Competition Authority Act 1997, the Authority can be directed by the Premier and Treasurer (ie. the Ministers) to examine and report to them on any matter relevant to the implementation of competition policy.
National Competition Policy
In 1995, all Australian governments agreed to implement a series of initiatives designed to improve the competitiveness of the national economy, with the aim of:
- improving living standards for the community at large;
- increasing employment;
- increasing the skills of people;
- supporting economic and industry growth; and
- improving productivity performance through the more efficient use of resources.
This was facilitated by three agreements (available to read in the Compendium of National Competition Policy Agreements 1998
- the Competition Principles Agreement;
- the Conduct Code Agreement; and
- the Agreement to Implement the National Competition Policy and Related Reforms.
The Competition Principles Agreement addresses:
- the establishment of state-based third party access regimes;
- prices oversight of state-based government business enterprises which have monopoly power;
- the imposition of competitive neutrality between government business activities and their private sector competitors;
- the structural reform of public monopolies; and
- a program of review of legislation to remove restrictions on competition.
The Queensland Competition Authority was established by the Queensland Government with specific responsibilities related to the first three functions of the Competition Principles Agreement. The Authority has no responsibility in respect of the remaining functions under the Competition Principles Agreement or the Conduct Code Agreement which extended the applicability of part IV of the Trade Practices Act 1974 to state entities. However, the Authority does have some responsibilities relating to the implementation of national reforms.
For more information on national competition policy in Queensland see www.treasury.qld.gov.au