Australian Hearing is a statutory agency established under the Australian Hearing Services Act 1991. This means we must operate in accordance with the Australian Government’s competitive neutrality policy, a policy first established in 1996 to ensure that government businesses do not enjoy market advantage due to the fact that they are owned by Government.
In the light of this and to be fully transparent, Australian Hearing would like to advise that its operations have been recently reviewed by the Productivity Commission.
The review has found that Australian Hearing is, with one very minor exception, acting in line with its competitive neutrality obligations. In particular, the review found that Australian Hearing’s:
- commercial operations are not cross-subsidised with funding from the Government to deliver services to children, Indigenous Australians and adults with complex needs
- status as a government agency does not provide it with an advantage in the procurement of goods and services, and
- world leading research arm, the National Acoustic Laboratories (NAL), does not uniquely support Australian Hearing’s commercial operations.
The review also found that Australian Hearing is able to legally charge fees for its services to clients.
Australian Hearing has also agreed to a recommendation by the Productivity Commission that it make an annual regularity neutrality payment of some $100,000 to government to offset what the Commission considers Australian Hearing’s advantage in relation to its access to a national worker’s compensation scheme. This payment will be in addition to the over $108 million that Australian Hearing has paid to government over the past five years as competitive neutrality and dividend payments.
A copy of the relevant Productivity Commission’s report is available at www.pc.gov.au/about/core-functions/competitive-neutrality