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Competitive neutrality complaints

How to make competitive neutrality complaints.

Where a private business, or other affected party, considers a government entity has not correctly applied the Competitive Neutrality Policy, they can:

  • in the first instance, discuss the concern with the relevant agency
  • contact the secretariat to discuss whether the issue might be in scope of the Competitive Neutrality Policy
  • consider making a formal complaint

Understanding the role of the Commissioner and BRV’s complaint handling process

After a complaint has been lodged, the BRV undertakes a preliminary assessment to decide whether to advise the Commissioner to accept the complaint. This assessment is based on relevant information from the complainant, the BRV’s own desktop research and, where appropriate, the relevant government agency.

Key issues that the BRV considers in making a decision include:

  • whether the activity is a significant business and in scope of the Competitive Neutrality Policy
  • the evidence supporting the complaint
  • the annual turnover of the government activity
  • the relevance of the government activity to the complainant

The Commissioner does not accept complaints considered frivolous, vexatious or outside the scope of the Competitive Neutrality Policy.

After assessing the complaint, the Commissioner will notify the complainant of her decision to:

  • not accept the complaint and explain why
  • accept the complaint for investigation
  • accept the complaint but take non-investigative action to resolve the issue

When a complaint has been accepted the Commissioner will:

  • investigate to establish whether there is a breach of Competitive Neutrality Policy
  • prepare a draft investigation report for review by the Commissioner
  • provide the draft investigation report to the complainant, government agency and responsible government department for comment on a confidential basis
  • consider responses and, where appropriate, revise the report
  • distribute the final report, including recommendations for the government agency to action
  • take follow-up action to check the steps taken by the Government agency to implement the recommendations

Many factors can influence the time required to properly assess a complaint including:

  • the type of government activity subject to complaint
  • the complexity of the complaint
  • the availability of information to assess the complaint

Making a complaint

The Commissioner considers written complaints submitted on the competitive neutrality complaints proforma. Required information includes:

  • a description of the nature of the business affected, including any special features that the Commissioner needs to be aware of
  • the identity of the government agency
  • a summary of the complaint and description of the type of unfair advantage
  • evidence that supports the complaint (for example, sales data and pricing information for similar products or services)
  • where relevant, other supporting information - such as copies of correspondence, references to material, and images - can be included
  • if the complaint includes commercially sensitive information which you do not wish to be disclosed, it should be marked clearly as “Commercial in Confidence”

Better Regulation Victoria (BRV) treats the identity of complainants as confidential unless authorised by the complainant to provide their details to other parties. In some instances, it may not be possible to preserve anonymity due to the specific nature of the complaint.

There is no filing fee for lodging a complaint.

Reviewed 05 March 2020

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