September 20th 2003

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: Wind turbines : coming to a farm near you

EDITORIAL: Changes needed to preserve our democracy

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Carr for Canberra?

WA Government stands up to National Competition Policy

STRAWS IN THE WIND: Rank and bile membership / ALP middle class

ETHANOL DEBATE: Eminent doctors and scientists call for ethanol biofuel blends

COMMENT: Behind the fall of Pauline Hanson

LETTERS: After Anderson (letter)

LETTERS: Missing history (letter)

AGRICULTURE: The issues behind the rural crisis

MILK: Calls to re-regulate WA's dairy industry

ECONOMICS: US prosperity and growth in the 1990s

ASIA: Taiwan and United Nations membership

BOOKS: Hitler and Churchill : Secrets of Leadership, by Andrew Roberts

BOOKS: The Homosexual Agenda, by Alan Sears and Craig Osten

BOOKS: Return of the Heroes : The Lord Of The Rings, Star Wars, Harry Potter And Social Conflict

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Government stands up to National Competition Policy

by Richard Egan

News Weekly, September 20, 2003
On April 11, 1995, all Australian jurisdictions signed up to the National Competition Policy Agreements which required the States to review all legislation that may restrict competition. Governments agreed that legislation should not restrict competition unless it could be shown that the benefits of the restriction to the community as a whole outweigh the costs, and the objectives of the legislation can be achieved only by restricting competition. Reviews were originally to be completed by December 2000 but there have been progressive extensions of this deadline.

Western Australia has now submitted its final progress report to the National Competition Council and is awaiting the Council's assessment. WA receives $70 million annually in "competition payments" which are made by the Federal Government based on the hypothesis that deregulation in the States will result in an increase in Federal revenue from taxation.

There is some concern that WA may not get the necessary elephant stamp for good behaviour from the Council as it has rejected deregulation in two areas.

WA remains the only State to resist deregulation of retail trading hours. After a sustained campaign by independent grocers, the Government decided to extend retail trading hours only for weeknights from July 2005. Restrictions on Sunday trading will be retained.

The Government also accepted the recommendation from the Legislation Review of the Marketing of Potatoes Act to retain the Potato Marketing Corporation which controls the production, supply and wholesale price of potatoes. Chris Perrott, the CEO of the Corporation, says that the decision complies with competition review guidelines because the system produces a net benefit to taxpayers, growers and consumers.

Retail prices in Perth are lower than in any other capital city. The retail sector of the supply chain receives about three times the return to growers compared to eight times the return to growers in deregulated markets.

WA Minister for Agriculture, Kim Chance, is looking at reregulation of the dairy industry in response to the exodus of 25% of dairy farmers after deregulation resulted in farm gate prices dropping to levels that made farming unsustainable for many producers.

  • Richard Egan

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