The Australian Treasury has recently begun a consultation process on the regulation of digital platforms, with the aim of ensuring fair competition and protecting consumer rights in the digital economy. The consultation will focus on three key areas:
- The market power of digital platforms
- The impact of digital platforms on competition, and
- The protection of consumer rights.
The market power of digital platforms has become a major concern in recent years, as a small number of large companies dominate the digital economy. These companies have the ability to control access to customers and suppliers and can use this power to limit competition and raise prices. The consultation will look at ways to address this issue, such as by setting limits on the market share of digital platforms or by requiring them to share data with competitors.
The impact of digital platforms on competition is also a key area of contention. Digital platforms can use their dominant position to exclude competitors, limit innovation, and reduce consumer choice. The consultation will look at ways to address these issues, such as by requiring digital platforms to open up their platforms to competitors, or by implementing measures to encourage innovation and competition.
Finally, the consultation will focus on the protection of consumer rights in the digital economy. Consumers are increasingly reliant on digital platforms for goods and services, and as a result, they are vulnerable to exploitation by these platforms. The consultation will look at ways to protect consumers, such as by strengthening consumer protections and by increasing transparency in the digital economy.
The consultation paper also addresses minor issues of governance and consistency with international approaches. The Treasury is presently seeking user feedback and recommendations pertaining to the relevant reform. Interested organisations and individuals have up until 15 February 2023 to comment on this consultation.
For a full reading of the consultation paper, see here.