After sounding the start gun yesterday, the probe into tech price gouging in Oz has released its terms of reference.
The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Communications, who kicked off its inquiry into the seemingly massive price differentiation of IT software, hardware in Australia compared to overseas, has just released its terms of reference.
The establishment of the IT pricing inquiry was following a request from Minister for Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, spurred by extensive campaigning by Labor MP Ed Husic.
The Committee’s Inquiry into IT Pricing will inquire into and report on:
(a) Whether a difference in prices exists between IT hardware and software products, including computer games and consoles, e-books and music and videos sold in Australia over the internet or in retail outlets as compared to markets in the US, UK and economies in the Asia-Pacific
(b) Establish what those differences are
(c) Determine why those differences exist
(d) Establish what the impacts of these differences might be on Australian businesses, governments and households
(e) Determine what actions might be taken to help address any differences that operate to the disadvantage to Australian consumers
Committee chair, Nick Champion, said “Australians are often forced to pay more for IT hardware and software than consumers in overseas markets. The Committee’s inquiry aims to determine the extent of these IT price differences and examine the possibility of limiting their impact on Australian consumers, businesses and governments.”
“The Committee will look into the cost of computer hardware and software, including games, downloaded music, e-books, and professional software, to name a few,” he added.
The Committee is looking forward to hearing from the companies who set these prices and the consumers and businesses that purchase their products.”
It invites interested persons and organisations to make submissions addressing the terms of reference by Friday 6 July 2012.