On 28 October 2010 the Senate referred the topic of competition in the banking sector to the Senate Economics Committee for inquiry.
Terms of Reference
Competition within the Australian banking sector, including:
(a) the current level of competition between bank and non-bank providers;
(b) the products available and fees and charges payable on those products;
(c) how competition impacts on unfair terms that may be included in contracts;
(d) the likely drivers of future change and innovation in the banking and non-banking sectors;
(e) the ease of moving between providers of banking services;
On 30 September 2010, the Select Committee on New Taxes initiated an inquiry into the following matter: (a) new taxes proposed for Australia, including: (i) the minerals resource rent tax and expanded petroleum resource rent tax, (ii) a carbon tax, or any other mechanism to put a price on carbon, and (iii) any other new taxes proposed by Government, including significant changes to existing tax arrangements; (b) the short and long term impact of those new taxes on the economy, industry, trade, jobs, investment, the cost of living, electricity prices and the Federation; (c) estimated revenue from those new taxes and any related spending commitments; (d) the likely effective
As part of its ongoing research into the design of Australia's climate-change policies, The Australia Institute recently conducted polling to better understand the relevant experiences and attitudes of Australians. Some of the questions asked related to the Australian Government's roof insulation scheme and these results are presented below to help inform the Senate inquiry into the Energy Efficient Homes Package.
Senator Stephen Conroy, the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, has asked the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to review Telstra Corporation Limited's (Telstra) price control arrangements and has called for public submissions. The ACCC is to report by 12 March 2010 and the ACCC has asked for written submissions by 12 February 2010. This submission responds to the Minister's call and its principal rationale is to put a view based on the perspective that Telstra is an extremely profitable organisation, whose profits derive from its exploitation of monopoly power.
Energy market reform and greenhouse policy are complex areas of public policy. It is unlikely that those who designed the current RET/CPRS set out to encourage coal mines to burn their waste methane rather than use it to generate electricity, but that is precisely what is being proposed. This problem can be simply fixed by ensuring that existing and newly built Waste Coal Mine Gas (WCMG) generators are eligible for RECS until 2030. The small size of the WCMG generation sector is such that any increase in electricity prices will be trivial in comparison to the other trends and policies currently influencing the residential electricity price.
In its submission to the Do Not Call Register Statutory Review, The Australia Institute argues that the current system of regulating unwanted telemarketing calls needs to be overhauled in recognition of the continued nuisance caused by telemarketing. The Do Not Call Register should be extended to cover all unsolicited telemarketing calls, including those that are currently "exempt". An opt-in telemarketing register could then be set up for people who wish to receive telemarketing calls.