Canberra opens consultation on Digital Platforms Review

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Monday, 05 August, 2019

Canberra opens consultation on Digital Platforms Review

The federal government has launched a public consultation into the government's response to the ACCC's latest Digital Platforms Review.

The joint consultation by the Department of Communications and the Treasury is inviting submissions on the ACCC's recommendations in the review.

The ACCC's recommendations include a wide range of reforms aimed at addressing the market dominance of the major digital platforms — particularly Google and Facebook. These recommendations cover competition law, consumer protection, media regulation and privacy law.

Examples include requiring digital platforms to notify regulators when a planned acquisition is likely to have the effect of lessening market competition, requiring digital platforms to adhere to an enforceable code of practice covering areas including privacy and establishing a specialist digital platforms branch within the ACCC to monitor and investigate potentially anti-competitive conduct by digital platforms.

"The recommended reforms that will be consulted on aim to better protect consumers, improve transparency, recognise power imbalances and ensure that substantial market power is not used to lessen competition in media and advertising services markets," Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said in a joint statement.

"The precise form of the reforms and a Government response to the report's 23 recommendations will be informed by this consultation process, led by Treasury and involving the Department of Communications and the Arts as well as the Attorney-General's Department."

The public consultation will run until 24 October.

Meanwhile, consumer advocate body CHOICE has welcomed the passage of the new Consumer Data Right, aimed at giving consumers more control over the data held on them by companies. The new legislation was passed by parliament last week.

“The Consumer Data Right has the potential to be one of the strongest competition reforms we've seen in years. It will help people navigate complex markets where traditionally it is difficult to shop around for a better deal. This law provides a framework to help people access better and more tailored products across services like banking, energy and more in the future," CHOICE CEO Alan Kirkland said.

"Right now, it's hard for people to switch in a lot of markets because it's very difficult to figure out what products offer greater value. Because it's hard, most people don't switch providers. When businesses don't need to compete to keep loyal customers, the result is bad service and poor value products.

Kirkland noted that the new legislation also grants stronger privacy protections and powers for the ACCC.

It will be vitally important for the ACCC to use its new powers to ensure that data is used responsibly and that the Consumer Data Right system is delivering strong outcomes for all Australians, including the more disadvantaged members of our community," he said.

Image credit: ©

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