Our role is to put in place arrangements to prevent the abuse of market power which may arise from the lack of competition.
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
- improving productivity performance through the more efficient use of resources.
Monopoly prices oversight is a mechanism that seeks to ensure government monopolies and non-government essential infrastructure monopolies do not charge excessive prices for their products or services.
The QCA uses pricing and other regulatory arrangements, which are based on sound economic and commercial principles, to encourage certain monopoly businesses to operate responsibly and fairly in the absence of normal competitive market forces.
Prices oversight prevents government and non-government monopolies (or near-monopolies) from abusing their market power by charging excessive prices for their products or services—because they either have no competitors or existing ones are not effective.
The QCA may investigate pricing practices of such monopolies or, in other cases, simply monitor their pricing practices, depending on the referral from the Treasurer and Minister for Trade. We only perform these functions on the request of the Minister.
The monopoly prices oversight powers of the QCA enable consumers to enjoy fair market prices, while businesses still earn a reasonable investment return—this ensures a beneficial outcome for all.
Essential infrastructure should be accessible to all potential users—including competitors (‘third parties’).
The QCA regulates third party access—this allows third parties to use infrastructure which cannot be economically duplicated, such as electricity and gas distribution systems, water storage and distribution system, rail tracks and port channels.
In this way, competition is boosted in those markets which depend on the infrastructure.