The competition watchdog, ACCC, is set to receive enhanced powers aimed at facilitating the prevention of ‘harmful’ mergers and acquisitions, streamlining its ability to block such transactions.

Australia’s competition watchdog is set to receive significantly bolstered authority to prevent companies from clandestinely executing acquisitions that could detrimentally impact competition and consumers.

Announced by Treasurer Jim Chalmers on Wednesday, these reforms represent the most extensive modifications to merger regulations in nearly half a century, following options outlined in a Treasury consultation paper last year.

Commencing January 2026, companies will be mandated to inform and persuade the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) that proposed mergers and acquisitions exceeding a specified threshold will not substantially diminish competition before they can proceed.

While companies will be obligated to notify the ACCC regarding mergers and acquisitions, no additional barriers will be imposed for approval. Moreover, decisions will be subject to review by the Competition Tribunal.

In a speech delivered in Sydney on Wednesday, Mr. Chalmers remarked, “These adjustments signify the ACCC’s enhanced capability to pinpoint mergers that are detrimental to competition, while expediting the approval process for those that foster competition.”

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