This chapter reports on our performance in achieving our outcome and purpose for 2019–20 using the framework and performance indicators reflected in both the 2019–20 ACCC Portfolio Budget Statement (PBS) (contained in the Treasury portfolio PBS) and the ACCC and AER Corporate Plan 2019–20. The ACCC and the AER jointly1 report against one outcome, with the ACCC reporting against program 1.1 and the AER against program 1.2, as shown in Table 3.1: Performance and reporting framework.
Table 3.1: Performance and reporting framework
Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (Cth) (PGPA Act)
Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) (CCA)
ACCC Portfolio Budget Statement
ACCC and AER Corporate Plan 2019-20
Lawful competition, consumer protection, and regulated national infrastructure markets and services through regulation, including enforcement, education, price monitoring and determining the terms of access to infrastructure services.
The ACCC and AER work in close coordination to achieve our common purpose: making markets work for consumers, now and in the future.
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
Australian Energy Regulator
Strategies to achieve our purpose
The ACCC and AER each pursue a program employing specific strategies to ensure we achieve our purpose. These strategies are:
maintaining and promoting competition
protecting the interests and safety of consumers, and supporting fair trading in markets affecting consumers and small business
promoting the economically efficient operation of, use of, and investment in infrastructure; and identifying market failure
undertaking market studies and inquiries to support competition, consumer and regulatory outcomes
promoting efficient investment in, and efficient operation and use of, energy services for the long-term interests of consumers with respect to price, quality, safety, reliability and security.
Below are deliverables we use to progress each strategy as we work towards achieving our outcome and purpose.
Program 1.1 ACCC
Strategy 1: Maintaining and promoting competition
To maintain and promote competition, we:
Deliver outcomes to address harm to consumers and businesses resulting from anti-competitive conduct
Assess mergers to prevent structural changes that substantially lessen competition
Make decisions on authorisations, notification and certification trade mark applications in the public interest
Strategy 2: Protecting the interests and safety of consumers, and supporting fair trading in markets affecting consumers and small business
To protect the interests and safety of consumers and support fair trading in markets affecting consumers and small business, we:
Deliver outcomes to address harm to consumers and small businesses resulting from non-compliance with the Australian Consumer Law and industry codes
Enhance the effectiveness of the ACCC's compliance and enforcement initiatives through partnerships
Identify and address the risk of serious injury and death from safety hazards in consumer products
Support a vibrant small business sector
Empower consumers by increasing their awareness of their rights under the Australian Consumer Law
Strategy 3: Promoting the economically efficient operation of, use of and investment in infrastructure and identifying market failure
To promote the economically efficient operation of, use of and investment in infrastructure; and identify market failure, we:
Deliver network regulation that promotes competition in the long-term interest of end users
Provide industry monitoring reports to government in relation to highly concentrated, newly deregulated or merging markets
Improve the efficient operation of markets by enforcing industry -specific competition and market rules
Strategy 4: Undertaking market studies and inquiries to support competition, consumer and regulatory outcomes
Relevant ministers may direct the ACCC to undertake certain activities, including market monitoring, inquiries and studies. These enable the ACCC to develop a sophisticated understanding of how well competition and markets are working in particular sectors. The ACCC can also undertake self-initiated market studies.
Program 1.2 AER
Strategy 5: Promote efficient investment in, and efficient operation and use of, energy services for the long-term interests of consumers with respect to price, quality, safety, reliability and security
To promote efficient investment in, and efficient operation and use of, energy services for the long-term interests of consumers with respect to price, quality, safety, reliability and security, we:
Drive effective competition where it is feasible
Provide effective regulation where competition is not feasible
Equip consumers to participate effectively, and protect those who are unable to safeguard their own interests
Use our expertise to inform debate about Australia's energy future, the long-term interests of consumers and the regulatory landscape
Take a long-term perspective while also considering the impact on consumers today
How we measure our performance
The ACCC and AER draw on a number of sources to measure and report on how effective we are in achieving our purpose:
We have a suite of performance indicators.
We analyse the activities we have undertaken and how they contribute to achieving our purpose.
We conduct surveys of our stakeholders.
We draw on assessments of our performance by external bodies.
Drawing on a broad range of qualitative and quantitative measures enables us to provide a well-rounded analysis of our performance in achieving our purpose.
Our Corporate Plan contains a suite of performance indicators (with targets, where applicable) that measure the activities we undertake to achieve our purpose and our timeliness in delivering them.2 Our results are reported with comparative results for the previous three years (where available) to provide a picture of our performance over time.
We also provide an assessment of how we have performed in achieving our targets for the year. Each performance indicator is assessed as per the following table.
Table 3.2: Assessment of performance results
Met or exceeded
Result is 100% or above of target
Result is between 75% and 99% of target
Result is less than 75% of target
No target set
While our performance indicator results provide readers with a quantitative indication of the significant outputs from our activities, the results should be read in conjunction with the case studies and other information about our activities and outcomes achieved.
Activities undertaken and outcomes achieved
In assessing our effectiveness, we also look at our key activities and outcomes achieved under our strategies and deliverables over the reporting period. These are discussed in the ‘Analysis of performance’ sections. Key highlights and case studies in the ‘Actions undertaken to achieve our purpose’ sections provide more detailed discussion of our activities and achievements.
ACCC Effectiveness Survey
In 2018–19 the ACCC engaged ORIMA Research to undertake a survey and conduct interviews with key stakeholders to qualitatively measure our effectiveness in achieving our purpose. The key findings from this research were incorporated into the annual performance statement for 2018–19 and have substantially enhanced our performance measurement and reporting.
The ACCC will undertake this survey every three years to provide a consistent qualitative measure of our effectiveness in achieving our purpose to supplement our other measures of performance.
In 2020 we commissioned Faster Horses to conduct market research on consumers’ and small business operators’ perceptions and knowledge of the ACCC. The research also explored consumers’ understanding of their consumer rights and willingness to exercise them. This follows similar studies conducted in 2018 and 2017. The research involved a survey of approximately 1600 consumers, four online consumer focus groups and a survey of approximately 400 small business operators. The findings are used to understand the usefulness of content that the ACCC provides and the effectiveness of current communication channels.
AER stakeholder survey
The AER has commissioned major surveys of its stakeholders at regular intervals. To date, five stakeholder surveys have been undertaken. The surveys have been conducted by an independent market research agency and have comprised a quantitative survey and in-depth telephone interviews with senior people in consumer groups, businesses, peak bodies and government agencies. They examined, among other things, satisfaction with how the AER performs its functions; the extent to which it has a clear direction and purpose, shows leadership and is seen as trustworthy; and how well it engages with stakeholders. The findings of our last stakeholder survey were included in the AER 2017–18 annual report and a full survey report is available on the AER website. Due to the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, the survey has been delayed this year.
Other measures of performance
We also monitor assessments of our performance provided by external bodies such as the Global Competition Review (GCR). This provides an added layer of qualitative assessment of our effectiveness. We discuss these other measures of our performance at Other measures of performance.
ACCC self-assessment under the Regulator Performance Framework
The ACCC also measures its performance by undertaking a comprehensive annual self-assessment against the six key performance indicators (KPIs) specified in the Australian Government’s Regulator Performance Framework. The framework’s purpose is to encourage regulators to impose the minimum burden on regulated entities while undertaking their functions to achieve regulatory objectives. The six KPIs are therefore primarily concerned with how regulators administer regulation. More information about the KPIs and the results from the ACCC’s most recent self-assessment is at Regulator Performance Framework.
Structure of annual performance statement
This annual performance statement separately covers program 1.1 (ACCC) and program 1.2 (AER). The performance reporting sections for each program are organised according to the strategies and deliverables outlined above.
For strategy 1 we have divided our performance reporting into four areas of activity:
taking enforcement action to promote competitive markets (deliverable 1.1)
ensuring competitive arrangements between businesses, including through merger and authorisation review (deliverables 1.2 and 1.3)
implementing the Consumer Data Right
other work we do that promotes and enhances competition.
For strategy 2 our reporting aligns directly with the five deliverables under this strategy.
For strategy 3 our reporting is organised by industry, noting the deliverables as they apply.
For strategy 4 we discuss the work we have undertaken on market studies and inquiries and other research work we have done during the year.
For strategy 5 our reporting aligns directly with the five deliverables under this strategy. We have provided ‘Performance results and analysis’ for each strategy. These sections:
outline our role and functions, priorities and powers
present our results against the performance indicators, and assess whether the targets have been met
provide an analysis of our performance, including any factors contributing to our performance during the reporting period.
We have also provided details of ‘Actions undertaken to achieve our purpose’ for each strategy. In these sections we discuss our work in more detail and give examples that demonstrate how we carry out the strategies to achieve our purpose.
Statement of preparation
As the accountable authority of the ACCC and AER, I present the 2019–20 financial year annual performance statement of the ACCC and AER, prepared for paragraph 39(1)(a) of the PGPA Act. In my opinion, this annual performance statement accurately presents the entity’s performance in the reporting period and complies with s. 39(2) of the PGPA Act.
Rod Sims Chair, ACCC
The ACCC and AER are a single listed entity for the purposes of finance law (within the meaning of the PGPA act) under s. 44AAL of the CCA↩
A subset of these indicators is included in our Portfolio Budget Statement↩