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Government set to regulate digital platforms

The Australian Government has agreed in principle to a proposed set of competition and consumer laws designed to address harms caused by digital platforms.

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) recommended these laws last year, seeking mandatory codes of conduct for certain digital platforms to prevent anti‑competitive practices such as self-preferencing and tying.

“Companies like Google, Apple, Meta, Microsoft and Amazon supply services that most Australians use every day,” said ACCC acting chair Catriona Lowe.

“These digital platforms are often unavoidable ‘gatekeepers’ between Australian businesses and consumers, giving them huge influence across the whole economy.”

The proposed reforms aim to promote competition by ensuring fairer treatment of small and medium-sized businesses, and ultimately provide consumers with more choice and higher quality services, she elaborated.

The Government has also agreed in principle to address consumer harms caused by scams, harmful apps and fake reviews. This will require digital platforms to develop voluntary internal dispute resolution standards by July 2024.

These latest moves follow actions from governments and regulators in the UK, Germany, Japan and the EU to protect competition and consumers on major digital platforms, Lowe added.

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