THE House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics will hear from strategic thinkers about competition on May 2 and from the tech sector on May 3, 2023 in two days of public hearings.
The hearings, part of the committee’s inquiry into promoting economic dynamism, competition and business formation, will be conducted by videoconference.
Committee Chair, Daniel Mulino MP said, "There is substantial evidence that Australia’s economy has become more concentrated. Research has found that wages tend to be lower when fewer employers dominate the market.
Rates of business start-up and job switching have also declined, which is concerning because both are important factors in higher wages.," Dr Mulino said.
"Furthermore, over the past year alone, our economy has experienced a number of supply chain shocks, in part because of the war in Ukraine, which speaks to the importance of economic resilience.
"And competition is one way to build resilience – a diverse and dynamic economy is also a resilient economy that is better equipped to deal with unexpected shocks and adapt to the challenges of an uncertain world.
"In a nutshell, less competition is associated with higher prices, fewer new businesses, less consumer choice, lower quality, less innovation and, ultimately, fewer jobs and less growth.
"For all these reasons and more, it is really important that we set the scene and hear from economists and thinktanks from across the political spectrum about their ideas on a robust competition policy. We are fortunate to have in Australia a number of highly experienced economists who can provide this commentary," Dr Mulino said.
The committee will hear from several experts on Tuesday, including e61, the Grattan Institute, the Institute of Public Affairs, former ACCC chair Rod Sims, and UNSW economist Richard Holden.
On Wednesday the committee will hear from the tech sector, including the Tech Council of Australia, FinTech Australia and Microsoft.
"Given the extraordinary pace and scale of technological change and its impact on businesses in this country, we need to hear from those at the cutting edge about the opportunities and risks for competition in sectors such as banking, energy, and retail, as well as across the broader economy," Dr Mulino said.
"We need to fully understand how regulation can keep up with the disruption resulting from technological change while also not stymieing innovation."
More details about the inquiry and upcoming public hearings, including the full terms of reference, are available on the committee’s website.
Public hearing details
Thinktanks and economists
Date: Tuesday 2 May 2023
Time: 11am to 4pm
Date: Wednesday 3 May 2023
Time: 9am to 2.30pm
Both public hearings will be broadcast live at https://www.aph.gov.au/live.