On 18 August 2022, the Federal Government released for consultation the Treasury Laws Amendment (Competition and Consumer Reforms No. 1) Bill 2022: More competition, better prices. The exposure draft legislation seeks to significantly increase the maximum penalty per contravention to AUD 50+ million for corporations engaging in anti-competitive conduct (including, for example, cartel offences, misuse of market power, and exclusive dealing) under Part IV of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 as well as for contraventions of the Australian Consumer Law. Penalties for breach of competition and consumer laws in Australia have increased rapidly in recent years, particularly in the context of consumer law contraventions, which will have seen an almost 50 times increase in the maximum penalty per contravention over a five year period (if the draft legislation is passed).
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