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Competitive Neutrality and State-Owned Enterprises in Australia: Review of Practices and their Relevance for Other Countries

  • Matthew Rennie
  • Fiona Lindsay
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    This working paper provides a comprehensive overview of the competitive neutrality framework of the Australian Commonwealth as well as individual States. It reviews the history behind the framework and provides examples of cases brought before the respective complaints handling offices. Finally, the paper draws conclusions regarding the successes and failures of the Australian framework and its applicability to other jurisdictions. The working paper argues that Australia.s competitive neutrality framework can be viewed as highly successful overall. However, the success can probably only be copied by other countries if these are willing to undertake similarly profound reforms as were engendered as part of the Australian competition reforms in the 1990s with the active participation of the Productivity Commission. The factors behind Australia.s apparent success include: a reform program that applied both to SOEs and to specific industries; the flexibility to apply the framework differently in different geographic contexts; anchoring the commitment to competitive neutrality in strong administrative processes; regular reviews and reporting by individual jurisdictions on the progress of their reforms; clarity in communication to enhance a nationwide understanding of the goals and mechanisms to achieve those goals; transparent public benefit tests to establish the boundaries between commercial and non-commercial public activities; and transparent and politically independent review processes.

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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/5kg54cxkmx36-en
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    Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Corporate Governance Working Papers with number 4.

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    Date of creation: Aug 2011
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    Handle: RePEc:oec:dafaae:4-en
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