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Make a Competitive Neutrality Complaint

Please read all the following information before deciding whether to lodge a complaint.

Making a complaint

Any individual or organisation (including a government body) may lodge a complaint with the Australian Government Competitive Neutrality Complaints Office (AGCNCO). The Productivity Commission Act 1998 also allows Australian Government agencies to complain that they are disadvantaged in competing with private firms by a government policy.

Types of complaint

Complaints will generally fall into one of three groups:

  • an Australian Government business is not complying with the competitive neutrality arrangements that apply to it
  • those arrangements are ineffective in removing competitive advantages arising from government ownership
  • an Australian Government business not subject to competitive neutrality arrangements should be.

The first step

Those contemplating making a complaint are encouraged to discuss their concerns with the government business involved and/or the AGCNCO. This will help to clarify whether the concerns fall within the scope of competitive neutrality policy and may allow for the resolution of matters without the need for a formal investigation. Formal complaints must be lodged in writing, preferably using the Competitive Neutrality Complaint Form. Office staff are available to discuss the preparation of a complaint.

Lodge a Competitive Neutrality Complaint

Information needed for a complaint

While there is no specific information that must be provided to support a complaint, the case for initiating an investigation and recommending changes to competitive neutrality arrangements will have more weight if supported by facts and arguments. Thus, complainants are encouraged to describe their concerns and the effects of any perceived breach of competitive neutrality arrangements on their activities.

To facilitate the investigation process and promote transparency, the AGCNCO generally makes written material submitted in relation to a complaint available to other interested parties. However, it will accept commercially or otherwise sensitive material on an 'in confidence' basis.

How a complaint is investigated

The AGCNCO will generally make a formal complaint public (by posting it on our website) and invite interested parties to approach the AGCNCO with information they consider would be relevant to our investigation.

When the AGCNCO investigates a complaint, it provides a written report to the Government setting out its findings and the reasons for them. It subsequently publishes the report and also makes it available on this website. While the AGCNCO may recommend changes to competitive neutrality arrangements, the Government is not obliged to accept that advice.

The AGCNCO does not automatically investigate complaints. Apart from those which do not concern an Australian Government business, it will generally rule out complaints that:

  • are frivolous, vexatious, not made in good faith, or are made by someone with an insufficient interest in the matter of the complaint
  • do not warrant investigation having regard to all the relevant circumstances.

If the Office does not proceed with an investigation, it provides written advice to the complainant outlining the reasons for its decision.

The AGCNCO generally aims to report to the Government within 90 days of accepting a complaint. For its part, the Government aims to respond to recommendations within a further 90 days. For complex complaints, an AGCNCO report may result in a Government decision to hold a subsequent public inquiry into the matters raised.

Contact the AGCNCO

Complaints Office staff are available to discuss any queries you may have.

Australian Government Competitive Neutrality Complaints Office
GPO Box 1428
Canberra City ACT 2601

Phone: (02) 6240 3200

Email: cnoffice@pc.gov.au

Confidentiality

You may ask the Office to accept commercially or otherwise sensitive information included in your complaint on a confidential basis. Please clearly mark any such information.

The Office will make information not designated confidential available to the government business activity which is the subject of the complaint and to any other interested parties. (Non-confidential information submitted by these other parties in response to your complaint will similarly be available to you.)

Reports arising from an investigation into a complaint are forwarded to the Treasurer and published on the Australian Government Competitive Neutrality Complaints Office (AGCNCO) website.

If you have any questions or concerns about the classification and disclosure of information, please discuss them with Office staff prior to lodging your complaint.

Lodge a complaint

Your details will only be used for the purpose for which you have provided them, read the privacy statement for more information.

Please review the complaint form below and information above so you are aware of what information you need to prepare before you start filling in the form.

Please enter information in the required fields * and attach all relevant documentation below.

Contact Stewart Plain by phone 02 6240 3219 or email cnoffice@pc.gov.au for any queries regarding this form.

General details

e.g. name of business/organisation/person

Complaint details

Please attach a statement detailing the basis for your complaint and any supporting documentation. Information that will assist the Office in considering your complaint includes evidence and/or a description of:

  • the significance of the advantages enjoyed by the government activity as a result of public ownership
  • the effects of those advantages on your business and/or private competitors more generally
  • any other avenues you have pursued in relation to your complaint (e.g. consultation with the government activity)
  • any other reviews or investigations in train which could have a bearing on the complaint
  • You may ask the Office to accept commercially or otherwise sensitive information included in your complaint on a confidential basis. Please clearly mark any such information.

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