Merger Reform For More Competitive Economy

Australian Treasury

The Albanese Government will reform Australia’s merger rules to boost competition and productivity in our economy.

Our new reforms will make our merger approval system faster, stronger, simpler, more targeted and more transparent.

Most mergers have genuine economic benefits – allowing businesses to achieve greater economies of scale and scope, helping them to access new resources, technology and expertise.

However, they can cause serious economic harm when firms are solely focused on squeezing out competitors to capture a larger percentage of the market.

New analysis shows that Australia’s competitiveness has been declining since the 2000s, while market concentration has nearly doubled since 2010.

We will simplify and speed up the process for mergers that are in the national interest and give the regulator stronger powers to identify and scrutinise transactions that pose a risk to competition, consumers and the economy.

These changes will make it easier for the majority of mergers to be approved quickly, so the ACCC can focus on the minority that give rise to competition concerns.


  • Mergers will be approved to proceed within 30 working days where the regulator decides they raise no competition concerns.


  • We will bring more certainty, consistency and transparency to Australia’s mergers regime by introducing a single expert decision‑making process on all mergers.
  • Mergers above monetary and market share thresholds (to be determined through consultation) will be required by law to be notified to and determined by the ACCC – ensuring acquisitions most likely to impact consumers are subject to sufficient scrutiny.
  • The law will specify the factors the ACCC must consider for merger applications, helping the regulator to better differentiate between benign acquisitions and those that would entrench or extend market power.
  • To protect consumers from possible impacts of serial acquisitions in certain industries, the ACCC will be able to take into consideration the cumulative effect of mergers by the acquirer or target within the previous three years.


  • Currently there are three paths to merger approval. This is inefficient and can mean some businesses game the system to effectively avoid proper assessment. We are reducing these three streams to a single, streamlined path to approval that removes duplication and standardises notification requirements for all mergers.
  • Competition issues will no longer be separately assessed under the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act of 1975, removing unnecessary regulatory duplication for businesses.
  • General notification requirements will apply and the Minister will be given power to introduce additional targeted notification obligations.


  • Currently the ACCC are focusing on mergers reported to them, not necessarily the most harmful.
  • Under these reforms, the ACCC will review mergers that pose a risk to competition, consumers and the economy, while transactions that are in the national interest will be fast‑tracked.


  • The ACCC will have greater visibility of merger activity and competition issues, and a public register of all mergers and acquisitions will be created to promote transparency, accountability and competition.
  • All ACCC determinations will be subject to review by the Australian Competition Tribunal, ensuring reviews are conducted by legal and economic experts.
  • Judicial review of Tribunal determinations will be available in the Federal Court.

Competition is a defining feature of our culture and we want to make it a more central, defining feature of our economy as well.

Competition means more and higher quality choices for consumers, at fairer prices, it makes our businesses more dynamic, more innovative and more productive and expands our economy.

Competition policy is a growth strategy and reforming our mergers system will benefit businesses as well as consumers and the broader economy.

The reforms we’ve announced today build on substantial consultation with industry, and have benefitted from the advice of the Competition Taskforce expert advisory panel made up of David Gonski, Kerry Schott, John Asker, Sharon Henrick, John Fingleton, Danielle Wood and Rod Sims.

We want mergers to drive improvements in productivity, to put downward pressure on prices and to deliver more choice for Australians under the pump with the cost of living.

These changes will deliver greater benefits to the economy and to consumers and provide certainty to businesses.

Subject to the passage of legislation, the reforms will commence on 1 January 2026.

Details of the reforms are available on the Treasury website.

In addition to merger reforms outlined today, I’ll also look to make two important appointments at the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

The Albanese Government will seek to appoint Dr Philip Williams AM as a full‑time member and Mr Stephen Ridgeway as a part‑time associate member of the ACCC.

The appointment of Dr Williams will support implementation of the government’s reforms to merger rules by bringing additional economic expertise to the ACCC.

Together these appointments will help to ensure one of Australia’s most important economic institutions has the talent and expertise it needs to remain strong and effective into the future.

I have written to states and territories seeking their support for the proposed appointments before I recommend them to the Governor‑General.

Dr Williams will serve for a five‑year period, and Mr Ridgeway for a three‑year period, both commencing 27 June 2024.

Today we have also released an updated Statement of Expectations for the ACCC which reflects the government’s key priorities, especially the cost of living.

The Albanese Government is focused on tackling cost of living pressures now and building a more productive, dynamic and inclusive economy. Making our economy more competitive is critical to these goals.

/Public Release. View in full here.