Welcome to Australian Competition Law
Latest Competition Law News and Commentary
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.
30 June 2015 - No cartel fines in Australia for 2015
The Australian has an item by Leo Shanahan this morning highlighting the disparity in cartel fines between Australia and other jurisdictions in the year to date. See Leo Shanahan, 'ACCC fails to impose fine for cartel conduct' (The Australian, 30 June 2015)
29 June 2015 - ACCC accepts Cabcharge undertaking
The ACCC has 'accepted a court enforceable undertaking from Cabcharge Australia Limited (Cabcharge) under which rival payment processors (third parties) will be able to process Cabcharge cards on their own in-taxi payment terminals'. See press release. See undertaking.
26 June 2015 - Gilbert + Tobin Competition Review 2015
Gilbert + Tobin has released its 2015 Gilbert + Tobin Competition Review, featuring Harper Review discussion (including interview with Michael O'Bryan QC), enforcement trends, mergers and acquisitions and plenty more.
26 June 2015 - High Court grants special leave in agreed penalties case
The High Court had granted the Commonwealth of Australia special leave to appeal the decision in Director, Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate v Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union  FCAFC 59 (1 May 2015), in which the Full Federal Court concluded that they should not have any regard to the figures agreed by the parties in relation to penalties.
25 June 2015 - ACCC authorises magazine distribution pilot program
The ACCC has authorised the Association of Magazine Publishers of Australia to run a pilot magazine distribution program over 3-6 months with the 40 newsagents that have agreed to participate' which 'will test the effectiveness of a proposed approach to address longstanding problems with the oversupply of magazines to newsagents. View ACCC press release. View authorisation register.
25 June 2015 - ACCC will not oppose JV between Patrick's and Australian Container Freight Services
The ACCC has announced it will not oppose the proposed Joint Venture between Patrick Container Ports Pty Ltd and Australian Container Freight Service Pty Ltd, finding that the provisions of the JV relating to the acquisition of shares or assets were unlikely to substantially lessen competition. See press release. See merger register.
24 June 2015 - Harris: Harper reforms key to lift the economy
The Productivity Commission Chairman, Peter Harris, has urged the government to take the recommendations of the Harper Review seriously, noting competition reform was needed for productivity growth. See David Uren, 'Harper reforms key to lift economy: PC boss Peter Harris' (The Australian, 24 June 2015).
19 June 2015 - ACCC to review Coles' proposed takeover of Supabarn stores
The ACCC will review the proposed acquisition by Coles of nine Supabarn stores. See ACCC press release and merger register. See also Michael Roddan, 'ACCC to review Coles' Supabarn buy' (The Australian, 19 June 2015), AAP, 'Watchdog to review Supabarn takeover' (SBS, 19 June 2015).
17 June 2015 - Media on ACCC Toll investigation
There is plenty of media relating to the ACCC's announcement yesterday that it did not consider that the alleged conduct contravened the CCA. See, for example: Ewin Hannan, 'Secret deals between Toll Holdings and the TWU did not breach competition laws, says ACCC' (AFR, 16 June 2015), Robert Gottliebsen, 'Old laws don’t work in the new era of industrial relations' (Business Spectator, 17 June 2015), Peter Trute, 'Union calls for end to commission "attack"' (The Australian, 16 June 2015) and 'ACCC gives Toll and TWU the all clear on agreements' (ATN, 16 June 2015)
16 June 2015 - ACCC concludes investigation into Toll - concludes no contravention of the CCA
The ACCC has concluded its investigation into alleged anti-competitive agreements between Toll Holdings Ltd and the Transport Workers Union of Australia and has concluded that the alleged conduct does not contravene the provisions of the CCA. See media release.
12 June 2015 - ACCC delays decision on Sea Swift's acquisition of Toll Marine Logistics at request of parties
The ACCC has indicated that although it was 'ready to make and announce a decision in this matter yesterday' it has delayed its decision in relation to Sea Swift's proposed acquisition at the request of the parties 'so that they could make submissions about changes to the transaction and a new proposed undertaking that will attempt to address [the ACCC's] preliminary competition concerns'. See media release. See merger register.
11 June 2015 - ACCC releases statement of issues on TPG's proposed acquisition of iiNet
The ACCC has released a Statement of Issues outlining the ACCC's preliminary views on the proposed acquisition of iiNet by TPG. A final decision is now expected on 20 August, with submissions on the statement of issues due by 2 July. See press release. See merger register.
11 June 2015 - ACCC proposes to authorise joint procurement for waste services by NSW and Victorian councils
The ACCC has issued draft determinations proposing to authorise:
- various councils in Victoria to have the Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group act on their behalf to jointly procure services relating to receiving and processing recyclable waste (see press release and authorisation register); and
- various councils in New South Wales to jointly procure organic waste collection and processing services (see press release and authorisation register)
11 June 2015 - ACCC releases SOI on Ramsay's proposed acquisition of Wollongong Day Surgery
The ACCC has released a Statement of Issues on the proposed acquisition by Health Care Corporation (Ramsay) of Wollongong Day Surgery, noting that the ACCC is 'concerned that the proposed acquisition is likely to substantially lessen competition in the supply of day surgery services to private health funds and the Department of Veteran Affairs'. Proposed date for final decision is now 27 August. Submissions on SOI due by 2 July. See press release. See ACCC merger register.
11 June 2015 - ACCC issues final determination on NBN Co's LTRCM
The ACCC has issued its final determination on NBN Co's Long Term Revenue Constraint Methodology fro the 2013-2014 financial year. See media release.
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.
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