Today, Andrew Leigh joined Labor candidate for Leichhardt, Elida Faith, in Cairns to discuss how Cairns hotels will benefit from Labor’s plans to outlaw price parity clauses.
Tourism is vital to the Cairns economy, yet too much of the money spent in local hotels is flowing offshore to online booking platforms.
Price parity clauses prevent Australian hotels from advertising that travellers can get a better deal by booking directly.
This has the effect of channelling bookings through the two major online booking platforms, which have a combined market share of 84 per cent and take up to 30 per cent of the total hotel bill. This means 30 per cent of the hotel bill is going offshore – to people who don’t change the sheets, don’t wash the towels and don’t mop the floors.
Price parity clauses would be banned under a Shorten Labor Government, giving local accommodation providers greater control of their own businesses and reducing the price of a weekend away.
Labor’s announcement – made last month – has been welcomed by a range of stakeholders in the local accommodation sector. One of the two major multinational platforms, Expedia, has also announced that it will unilaterally cease using these clauses in their agreements.
This measure will build on Labor’s strong suite of plans to tackle Australia’s competition problem. Labor has pledged to:
- Increase anti-consumer and anti-competition penalties to $50 million.
- Give consumer and small business advocacy groups the power to make ‘supercomplaints’ about consumer rip-offs.
- Protect small business through making unfair contract terms illegal.
- Make it easier and cheaper to send money to family and friends overseas by requiring full fee disclosure on remittances.
- Make it more affordable to fix your car by requiring car manufacturers to share technical information with independent mechanics on commercially fair and reasonable terms.
- Introduce an automotive industry-specific code under the Competition and Consumer Act to deliver clear rules to better regulate negotiations between manufacturers and dealerships.
- Double the competition regulator’s litigation budget and amend the Competition and Consumer Act to give a truly independent market studies function to the regulator.
- Allow the Courts to apply higher penalties for conduct that targets or disproportionately impacts disadvantaged Australians.
- Require the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to prioritise investigations of conduct that targets or disproportionately impacts disadvantaged Australians.
- Investigate the impacts of increased market concentration on income inequality in Australia and produce policy recommendations on how the negative effects of market concentration can be mitigated.
- Encourage States and Territories to include competition principles in planning and zoning legislation, as recommended by the Harper Review, with a specific focus on shortfalls of appropriately zoned land for key services in disadvantaged communities.
Earlier this year, Labor policy became law when the Liberals were forced to vote for our plans to help small business to bring cases of anti-competitive behaviour to Court.
Increasing competition helps drive costs down for consumers by correcting the power imbalance between small business and the big end of town. It’s good for Australian workers, it’s good for Australian consumers and it’s good for Australia’s economy.
Labor will always put the health of small businesses ahead of the profits of big multinationals. Labor has a plan to back in taxpayers over tax avoiders and everyday Australian workers over the big end of town.
While Scott Morrison and the Liberals continue shambolic scare campaigns, Labor will continue to fight for a fairer Australia for everyone.
After six years of the Liberals’ cuts and chaos, our united Labor team is ready.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.