Call for ACCC carve up

The National Association of Retail Grocers of Australia (NARGA) is calling for the ACCC to be split up, with its responsibilities for price regulation and disputes over market access in key industries to be hived off to a new entity, the Australian Utilities Commission.

NARGA spokesman Alan McKenzie claims this would leave the ACCC better able to concentrate on enforcing the anti-competitive conduct provisions of the Trade Practices Act. Mr McKenzie said the ACCC has been overloaded in regulating the telecommunications, airports, gas and electricity sectors, and the situation will continue if the Government presses ahead with appointing two National Competition Council officials to the ACCC, Graeme Samuel and Ed Willett.

Mr Samuel's appointment has been regarded with some dismay by small business, as he appears to be less likely to intervene in allegations of unfair competition matters. NARGA has expressed concern over the market power of major retailers Woolworths and Coles Myer.