Welcome to Australian Competition Law
Latest Competition Law News and Commentary
24 July 2015 - Telstra competitors demand Communications Dept withdraw submission to ACCC
It has been reported that the Competitive Carriers Coalition has demanded the Dept of Communications withdraw a submission to the ACCC that backs Telstra's efforts to increase the regulated price it charges for access to its fixed copper network. See Mitchell Bingemann, 'Telcos slam department's Telstra defence' (The Australian, 24 July 2015, page 21 (or online version)), Renai LeMay, '"Extraordinary": Telcos slam Turnbull's Dept for backing Telstra over consumers' (Delimiter, 24 July 2015) and Juha Saarinen, 'Telco rivals slam govt intervention in Telstra price decision' (itnews, 23 July 2015). See also Optus submission in response to Department of Communications submission, received and released today.
See also ACCC fixed line services FAD inquiry page, including Further draft decision page (with draft decision and submissions on draft decision). Submissions were invited until 17 July and a final decision is anticipated in September. Submissions were released on the ACCC website on 22 July 2015.
23 July 2015 - ACCC proposes to approve revised NBN/Optus arrangements
The ACCC is proposing to authorise provisions within revised agreements between NBN Co and Optus involving "progressive migration of Optus' HTC subscribers to the new multi-technology NBN ...'. View authorisation register. View draft decision. View press release.
22 July 2015 - ACCC's Jill Walker appointed to NZCC
Current ACCC Commissioner, Dr Jill walker, has been appointed to the New Zealand Commerce Commission for a five year term. The term will commence on 1 December; however, Dr Walker will continue to serve as an ACCC Commissioner until April 2016. View ACCC press release.
17 July 2015 - ACCC proposes to authorise credit reporting system
The ACCC 'proposes to grant authorisation for five years to the Australian Retail Credit Association Ltd (ARCA) in relation to principles for exchanging comprehensive consumer credit data between signatory credit reporting bodies and lenders'. View press release. See draft determination. See authorisation register.
16 July 2015 - Coles and Supabarn - plenty of chatter
There has been some chatter about Coles' proposed acquisition of nine Supabarn supermarkets over the last few days. Fairfax produced an editorial on the issue yesterday ('Coles' purchase of Supabarn faces competition test by ACCC' (The Canberra Times, 15 July 2015)) and, surprisingly enough, Master Grocers Australia has called for the acquisition to be blocked ('Supabarn to Coles should be blocked by ACCC, Master Grocers Australia says' (666 ABC Canberra, 15 July 2015) and John Thistleton, 'Independent supermarkets object to Coles buying Supabarn chain' (SMH, 14 July 2015)). It's such a hot topic the ACCC has even produced a Q&A on the proposed acquisition. The ACCC commenced an informal review on 22 June, with market inquiry letters sent on 25 June. Interested parties can make submissions until 20 July 2015. View merger register.
10 July 2015 - Sea Swift's proposed acquisition of Toll Marine Logistics heading to the Tribunal
Toll Marine Logistics looks set to take their proposed deal with Sea Swift to the Australian Competition Tribunal after yesterday's announcement by the ACCC's that it would oppose the deal. See, eg, John Durie, 'Japan Post to appeal ACCC rejection of Sea Swift merger deal' (The Australian, 10 July 2015) and Elliana Lawford, 'Toll Group to appeal to ACCC's decision to oppose NT freight assets sale to rival Sea Swift' (ABC News, 9 July 2015).
9 July 2015 - ACCC opposes Sea Swift's proposed acquisition of Toll Marine Logistics
The ACCC has 'decided to oppose the proposed acquisition by Sea Swift Pty Ltd of the Northern Territory and far north Queensland marine freight business of Toll Marine Logistics Australia ... because it would be likely to substantially lessen competition'. View media release. View merger register.
9 July 2015 - ACCC grants interim authorisation to Qantas and American Airlines
The ACCC 'has granted interim authorisation to Qantas ... and American Airlines so they can introduce additional joint services between Australia and the US under an expansion of their alliance.' View media release. View authorisation register.
4 July 2015 - Billson speech to CEDA available
Small Business Minister, Bruce Billson MP's, speech to CEDA on Wednesday is now available. On competition laws, Billson discusses (or at least mentions) s 46, merger clearance and authorisation, extension of the Act to a broader range of government activity and simplifying cartel conduct. View transcript.
3 July 2015 - Coles proposed acquisition of nine Supabarn supermarkets
The ACCC has invited submissions on the review of Coles' proposed acquisition of Supabarn supermarkets. See, ACCC, 'Q&A: Coles proposed acquisition of Supabarn supermarkets'. See also merger register.
2 July 2015 - ACCC will not oppose proposed lease acquisition by Coles, subject to divestiture
The ACCC 'has announced that it will not oppose the proposed acquisition by Coles Supermarkets Australia of a lease to operate a supermarket at Lakelands, Western Australia, after accepting a court-enforceable undertaking [which] requires Coles to divest its freehold interest in a nearby development at Singleton, WA to a purchaser approved by the ACCC within a specified period.' See media release. See merger register.
1 July 2015 - Government's Harper response delayed until September (at least)
Small Business Minister, Bruce Billson, spoke at CEDA today. He indicated (again) that he backs the proposed changes to s 46, but the Government response will be delayed until at least September. See John Durie, 'Harper competition review response delayed' (The Australian, 1 July 2015)
1 July 2015 - Harper consultation submissions available
Treasury has now published all non-confidential submissions made in response to its consultation on the Harper Review Final Report. Treasury received 140 submissions in response to this consultation. Of these submissions, 8 were confidential. View submissions.
1 July 2015 - Harper under wraps
In today's Australian John Durie notes that Small Business Minister, Bruce Billson MP, will not be giving the government's response to the Harper Review today as cabinet is yet to consider his recommendations. See John Durie, 'Harper Still Under Wraps' (The Australian, 1 July 2015, page 28). Small Business Minister Billson is speaking at CEDA today on Competition Policy Reform, together with Prof Allan Fels.
Competition Policy Review (Harper)
Misuse of market power
The decision in CFMEU has cast doubt on the ability of the ACCC to negotiate 'agreed penalties' with respondents to proceedings under the CCA. Special leave to appeal to the High Court has been granted.
Cartels and agency arrangements
The 2013 arguably inconsistent outcomes in the ANZ and Flight Centre cases in 2013 have led to some uncertainty about the circumstances in which agents may be considered in competition with their principals for purposes of the cartel laws. Both cases were appealed and judgment is pending.
Resale Price Maintenance
ACCC takes on Informed Sources
The ACCC has instituted proceedings against Informed Sources and several petrol retailers alleging contravention of s 45.
Images copyright: Images in the Hot Topic section (left column): male runner on starting blocks courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net; gas pump filling nozzles courtesy of Rawich at FreeDigitalPhotos.net and price magnifier definition means promotions and savings courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.(right column): business man and stock graph report courtesy of watcharakun at FreeDigitalPhotos.net; vacations computer key courtesy of Stuart Miles (Image ID: 10091676) at FreeDigitalPhotos.net; handshaking courtesy of Photokanok at FreeDigitalPhotos.net,