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‘The private sector will chase maximum profit’: ACCC calls for privatised airport regulation

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The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is calling for an effective regulatory regime to be rolled out across Australian airports, as some start to question whether privisatisation is really the gateway to lower prices.

Suggesting some are losing patience with government’s unregulated privatisation of public assets, Chair Rod Sims says providers of key monopoly infrastructure, like airports, need regulation to ensure they don’t exploit their market power and compromise consumers with higher prices.

However, it looks as though this isn’t happening when it comes to airports. Privatisation has seen airports become too profitable, with the lack of a constraining mechanism and a lack of competition seeing customers pay more at the mercy of profit-hungry fat cats.

This has become the subject of the consumer watchdog’s latest submission to the Productivity Commission, who’re pushing for the enforcement of a regulatory framework to restrain profiteering.

“When you get the private sector involved, you’ve got to think carefully about what the regulatory regime is,” ACCC Chair, Rod Sims explains to Michael McLaren.

“If you’re selling it into a competitive environment, that’s fine. But if you’re not, you’ve got to think carefully about how you regulate it.”

“So that’s the problem, privatisation without any regulation. Part of this is the government deliberately trying to maximise the initial proceeds from sales so they make a lot of money. But it’s also partly naivety.”

“There is the belief that private is better, which is just wrong. The private sector will chase maximum profit.”

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