Government officially announces ACCC leadership team

Posted by Editorial on 14th July 2008

The Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer announced a number of important appointments to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on Friday.

The Rudd Government intends to recommend to the Governor‑General the re‑appointment of Mr Graeme Samuel AO as ACCC Chairperson for three years, and the appointment of Mr Peter Kell as Deputy Chairperson for five years. These recommendations were not the best kept secret in Canberra, with reports suggesting the announcement was imminent some two and a half weeks ago.

Upon appointing the new leadership team of the ACCC leadership team, the government suggested that it was a signal of their intent to strengthen competition in the economy to allow consumers to benefit and small businesses to flourish.

The Rudd Government outlined their support for Mr Samuel due to the belief he has provided strong leadership for the ACCC, at a time when its role in promoting competition and advancing the interests of consumers is as important as it ever has been.

Mr Kell was considered a suitable replacement for outgoing Deputy Chair Ms Louise Sylvan due to his experience at CHOICE and ASIC. “Mr Kell is eminently suitable for the role of Deputy Chairperson, with extensive experience in arguing the case for consumers, as both the CEO at CHOICE and Executive Director of Consumer Protection at the Australian Securities and Investments Commission,” a statement from the Government claimed. “In making this announcement, the government pays tribute to the work of the outgoing Deputy Chairperson of the ACCC, Ms Louise Sylvan. She has worked tirelessly and enthusiastically for the rights of Australian consumers, and her service with the ACCC is greatly appreciated.”

The government has also recommended to the Governor-General that Ms Sylvan be appointed as a commissioner at the Productivity Commission.

The government has received a majority of the states and territories approval with regard to the reappointment of Mr Samuel and the appointment of Mr Kell, which is a requirement of the 1995 intergovernmental Conduct Code Agreement.

The government also announced the appointment by the Governor‑General of Professor Michael Schaper as a second Deputy Chairperson of the ACCC for a term of five years. His appointment is designed to provide a strong voice for small business, according to the Government. “With the appointment of Professor Schaper as Deputy Chairperson responsible for small business, the Government has delivered on its commitment to ensure there is a permanent voice for small business on the ACCC,” the statement asserted.

The appointments of Mr Samuel, Mr Kell and Ms Sylvan are now all subject to the Governor-General’s approval.