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Australia Committed to Rival Stock Exchanges, Government Says

Oct. 13 (Bloomberg) -- The Australian government is committed to allowing stock exchanges to compete with the nation’s dominant operator ASX Ltd., a spokesman for Financial Services Minister Bill Shorten said.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission would determine when any rival operations could begin, according to the spokesman, who declined to be named in line with government policy. Chi-X Global Inc., an electronic-trading-platform, has won preliminary approval to become the first competitor to ASX.

Australia’s markets regulator last month said it expects to publish a new timeframe for the entry of additional stock-exchange operators after consulting Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s government, which was newly elected in August. ASIC would work quickly to facilitate competition if the government affirmed its commitment to allowing challengers to operate, Chairman Tony D’Aloisio told Bloomberg News at the time.

ASIC took over oversight of real-time trading on domestic licensed markets from ASX on Aug. 1 as part of government attempts to pave the way for competitors that might help Australia attract more foreign investment.

“It’s a good thing any lingering doubts over introducing competition appear to have been dismissed,” Peter Fowler, Chi-X Australia Pty.’s chief operating officer, said in an e-mail today. “As for the question of timing, the spotlight now seems to be on the regulator.”

Chi-X’s local unit said last month that it’s sticking to its target to begin operating by the end of the first quarter of 2011.

To contact the reporters for this story: Shani Raja in Sydney at sraja4@bloomberg.net. Marion Rae in Canberra at mrae3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Gentle at ngentle2@bloomberg.net

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