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A zippier economy: Lessons from the 1992 Hilmer Competition Reforms

more startups, more mobility, more innovation

In this Sydney Ideas talk, the Hon Andrew Leigh MP, Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury, shares why he believes that competition policy is fundamental to economic dynamism and rising living standards.

In October 1992, Prime Minister Paul Keating announced the establishment of a major independent inquiry into competition policy in Australia. Fred Hilmer’s review sparked the National Competition Policy reforms, which was followed by a surge in productivity. Thirty years on, Andrew Leigh will look at what lessons the Hilmer Review and National Competition Policy can teach us.  

After the worst decade of income growth in the post-war era, Leigh argues that it is vital to prioritise competition. Globally, regulators are actively looking at what Louis Brandeis famously called ‘the curse of bigness’, and considering how excessive market concentration might harm consumers, hurt workers, and reduce economic activity. A zippier economy requires more startups, more mobility, and more innovation.

After the talk, Andrew Leigh is joined in conversation with Kirsten Andrews, Vice-President, External Engagement.

This event was held on Monday 17th October 2022 in the Nelson Meers Auditorium of the Chau Chak Wing Museum.

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About the speakers

Andrew Leigh

photo by Hilary Wardhaugh

Andrew Leigh is the Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury, and Federal Member for Fenner in the ACT. Prior to being elected in 2010, Andrew was a professor of economics at the Australian National University. He holds a PhD in Public Policy from Harvard, having graduated from the University of Sydney with first class honours in Arts and Law. His books include; What's the Worst That Could Happen? Existential Risk and Extreme Politics (2021) and Fair Game: Lessons From Sport for a Fairer Society & a Stronger Economy (2022). Andrew hosts a podcast called The Good Life: Andrew Leigh in Conversation, about living a happier,  healthier and more ethical life. 

Kirsten Andrews

Kirsten Andrews is the Vice-Principal (External Relations) at the University of Sydney.  She is the strategic lead for externally facing activities at the University, with responsibility for the University’s engagement with industry, government and community,  Marketing and Communications, Media and Public Relations, Museums and Cultural Engagement. Prior to joining the University, Kirsten held senior positions in government and the not-for-profit sector.