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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


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthew Rennie & Fiona Lindsay, 2011. "Competitive Neutrality and State-Owned Enterprises in Australia: Review of Practices and their Relevance for Other Countries," OECD Corporate Governance Working Papers 4, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:dafaae:4-en
    DOI: 10.1787/5kg54cxkmx36-en

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    Cited by:

    1. World Bank, 2013. "Republic of Turkey Reform for Competitiveness Technical Assistance : Fostering Open and Efficient Markets through Effective Competition Policies," World Bank Other Operational Studies 17010, The World Bank.
    2. Sebastian Zwalf, 2017. "Competitive neutrality in public-private partnership evaluations: a non-neutral interpretation in comparative perspective," Asia Pacific Journal of Public Administration, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(4), pages 225-237, October.
    3. Wisuttisak, Pornchai, 2012. "Regulation and competition issues in Thai electricity sector," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 185-198.

    More about this item


    competition policy; competitive advantages; competitive neutrality; corporate governance; sectoral reforms; state-owned enterprises;

    JEL classification:

    • G30 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - General
    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance
    • L4 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies

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