Competition benefits society by driving performance, innovation and affordability. Queensland Treasury plays a key role in making sure Queensland has policies and economic regulatory frameworks in place that encourage a competitive and productive economy. Specifically, Treasury:
The Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) is responsible for the regulation of declared monopoly business activities under the frameworks administered by Treasury in the Queensland Competition Authority Act 1997. The Queensland Productivity Commission (QPC) is responsible for conducting competitive neutrality complaint investigations and providing advice to the Government on these matters.
Treasury coordinates the Queensland Government’s response to the Australian Government’s competition policy review. This review is the first overall review of Australian competition policy since the Hilmer Review in 1994. The Review’s final report was released on 31 March 2015. The report makes 52 recommendations across the full range of competition policy, laws and regulation. It recommends that the principles underpinning competition policy be revised and updated and that competition policy extend to human services areas (health, education, community and disability services). It also recommends that ‘unfinished business’ from the 1994 review of the National Competition Policy be finalised and the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 be simplified and modernised. The Queensland Government has made a formal response to the report. The response stated the Queensland Government is generally supportive of increased competition because of the potential productivity gains. It included a Queensland Government position on proposals of specific interest to Queensland. The Australian Government announced its response to the report on 24 November 2015. The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed on 11 December 2015 to develop a new competition reform agreement, drawing on the Harper Competition Policy Review, for its consideration in 2016.
The Queensland Productivity Commission (QPC) is Queensland’s independent economic advisory body. The QPC was established as a separate legal entity and statutory body under its own legislation, the Queensland Productivity Commission Act 2015. Treasury coordinates the Government’s relationship with the QPC. This involves matters such as advising on the QPC’s work program (such as potential terms of reference for inquiries) and managing administrative matters relating to the QPC. The QPC’s work encompasses four streams:
The QPC is currently undertaking inquiries into electricity pricing and solar feed-in pricing. Draft reports have been released and are open for public consultation. Final reports are due by June 2016. The Government will then prepare a response to the reports. Information on these reports and the QPC’s other work is available on the QPC website.