Australian opposition treasury responses to federal budget

16:05, May 19, 2010      

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Australia Opposition treasury spokesman Joe Hockey on Wednesday detailed the opposition's response to last week's federal budget in a speech to the National Press Club in Canberra.

If elected, the coalition would focus on boosting productivity, Hockey said.

"On election the coalition would undertake a comprehensive and independent review of the Trade Practices Act from 1974 including all aspects of competition arrangements in Australia," Hockey said.

"Unlike current government reviews this will be chaired by an eminent Australian independent of the public service."

More details would be announced in coming days, Hockey said. " The outcomes we want will be focused on giving small business a fair go, we want farmers to have their concerns about downstream pricing addressed," Hockey said.

The review would also aim to give greater clarity around misleading and deceptive conduct, a clear market focus, clarity for consumers, and a new competition policy framework.

This would mean a genuinely market-based approach, and a "clean, clear, fair and transparent framework", in areas such as energy supply.

Hockey said a coalition government would undertake a national audit of capital stock, with a particular focus on upgrading existing infrastructure rather than building new facilities.

That would include multi-use sporting facilities through to shared utility infrastructure.

"I believe we can significantly improve the productivity of existing capital stock without the need to build everything new for ribbon-cutting ceremonies by politicians," Hockey said.

While the coalition remained firmly against more regulation of the financial system, current safeguards could be improved, Hockey said.

"In particular, we will revisit the FSR (Financial Services Regulation) Act and ensure that product disclosure statements are simpler and smaller."

The coalition would also seek to reform corporate law to ensure "short-form prospectuses really are short".

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