At the Australasian Convenience and Petroleum Marketers Association Annual Conference, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) chairman Rod Sims addressed issues of misuse of market power and unconscionable conduct.
He spoke about the fine line between behaviour that represents combative capitalism that benefits society and that which represents a breach of the law, which damages society.
As well as an update on the ACCC's approach to mergers in the grocery, liquor and home improvement sectors, Sims signalled the ACCC's response to supermarket and capacity issues raised by a recent Master Grocers Australia report.
"The ACCC is currently considering the issues and recommendations raised in this report and whether there are any competition issues that the ACCC should consider further under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010,” Sims said.
"However, by way of background, in order to meet the tests of conduct being against the law and anti-competitive, it has to be behaviour which is deliberately meant to damage competition.
“The fact that a new store will operate at a loss in its early days is usually considered normal commercial behaviour."
For the first time, the chairman spoke about petrol price boards and the process under way.
"Concerns have been raised that the prominent display of discounted petrol prices on fuel price boards may be misleading consumers,” he said.
"The ACCC can also see that this is an issue for consumers and we recommended that consideration be given to a national approach to fuel price boards under the Australian Consumer Law.”