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25 May 2015 - ACCC alleges cartel conduct in the NSW Government's Mount Penny coal exploration licence tender process

The ACCC has commenced proceedings in the Federal Court against eleven respondents alleging bid rigging involving mining exploration licences in the Bylong Valley. See ACCC press release. See also Leo Shanahan, 'ACCC takes action against Obeid family interests' (The Australian, 25 May 2015), Kate McClymont, 'Moses Obeid, Paul Obeid and businessmen accused of 'cartel conduct' by ACCC over Bylong Valley coal licences' (SMH, 25 May 2015), Michael Janda, 'ACCC launches cartel proceedings against Eddie Obeid's sons' (ABC, The World Today) (5 min audio) and Tony Boyd 'Obeids cop ACCC cartel allegations over Mt Penny coal' (AFR, 25 May 2015)

21 May 2015 - ACCC issues fifth water monitoring report

The ACCC 'has publicly released its fifth Water Monitoring Report [which] details the impact of water market and charge reforms on irrigators and infrastructure operators in the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB).' See media release.

21 May 2015 - ACCC will not oppose Federation Centres' proposed acquisition of Notion Property Group

The ACCC 'has announced that it will not oppose Federation Centres’ proposed acquisition of Novion Property Group after accepting court-enforceable undertakings from the parties to divest one of their shopping centres in South East Melbourne.' View media release. View merger register.

19 May 2015 - Samuel: Iron ore inquiry could damage investment reputation

Former ACCC Chairman, Graeme Samuel, has told the ABC that a parliamentary inquiry into the iron ore industry could damage Australia's investment reputation: see Peter Ryan, 'Iron ore inquiry could damage Australia's investment reputation: Samuel' (ABC news, 18 May 2015). See also Flavio Menezes, 'Competition the wrong test for iron ore inquiry' (The Conversation, 18 May 2015)

18 May 2015 - ACCC finds no evidence of cartel conduct by fuel retailers in Armidale

The ACCC has concluded an investigation into allegations of ant-competitive conduct be fuel retailers in Armidale, finding no evidence of cartel conduct. See press release.

14 May 2015 - ACCC and the budget

The Treasury Portfolio budget statement on the ACCC has been published following Tuesday night's budget. It runs to 27 pages (pages 87-113 of the Treasury document).

13 May 2015 - ACCC reports on Telstra's compliance with SSU

The ACCC annual report on Telstra's compliance with its Structural Separation Undertaking was tabled in Parliament on Tuesday. While generally compliant, the report notes Telstra failed to meet its obligations on a number of occasions. See ACCC press release. See also Chris Duckett, 'Telstra Retail had better ADSL tools than Wholesale: ACCC' (ZDNet, 13 May 2015) and Stan Beer, 'Telstra breached Structural Separation obligations in 2014: ACCC' (IT Wire, 13 May 2015)

8 May 2015 - Agreed penalties

Ayman Guirguis, Richard Filtcroft and Asa Lam at Corrs have a briefing on the recent Full Federal Court decision in CFMEU dealing with agreed penalties - 'Where to now for Agreed Civil Penalty Outcomes following the CFMEU and Barbaro Decisions' (Corrs Chambers Westgarth, 'Corrs in Brief', 8 May 2015). For links to cases and additional commentary click here.

6 May 2015 - Failing firms and mergers

Michael Corrigan and Ian Reynolds at Clayton Utz have a news item on the ACCC's approach to failing firm claims in merger clearance applications, focussing on the ACCC's recent decision not to oppose VIP Steel Packaging's proposed acquisition of certain steel drum assets from National Can Industries. See Michael Corrigan and Ian Reynolds, 'When will the ACCC clear a 'failing firm' transaction?' (Clayton Utz, 6 May 2015)

6 May 2015 - Draft ruling on network access

The ACCC has issued a draft decision 'on the regulated price that mobile network operators charge each other and fixed-line network operators for receiving calls on their mobile network'. The decision also 'sets a regulated price that mobile network operators may charge for receiving SMS messages'. Final decision is expected to be released in July. See ACCC press release. See Mobile terminating access service FAD inquiry 2014. See also Esther Han, 'Cheaper mobile calls and text as ACCC moves to slash wholesale fees' (SMH, 6 May 2015), David Ramli, 'Cutting mobile call costs will only aid Telstra: Vodafone, Singtel-Optus' (AFR, 6 May 2015), David Swan, 'Regulator moves on phone call, SMS prices' (Business Spectator, 6 May 2015)

5 May 2015 - ACCC and secondary boycotts

AFR has an opinion piece on the ACCC's approach to secondary boycotts: Stuart Wood 'Union thuggery is beyond ACCC's comfort zone' (AFR, 5 May 2015)

5 May 2015 - King and Samuel on misuse of market power - again

Professors Stephen King and Graeme Samuel have an item in today's Conversation about the proposed changes to the misuse of market power provision: Stephen King and Graeme Samuel, 'Competition law fix could seriously harm competition' (The Conversation, 5 May 2015)

1 May 2015 - Russell Miller on Harper proposals

Russell Miller has an item in today's Conversation - 'Competition Debate must move beyond effects test battle' (The Conversation, 1 May 2015)

 

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Hot topics

Competition Policy Review (Harper)

Harper Review

Read moreThe first major review of competition policy in Australia was conducted in 2014-2015 with the final report released on 31 March 2015.

 

Misuse of market power

Image of market power

Read moreAlways topical, the issue of misuse of market power featured prominently in the Harper Review, with the Panel recommending introduction of an effects test.

Agreed Penalties

Handshake image

Read moreThe decision in CFMEU has cast doubt on the ability of the ACCC to negotiate 'agreed penalties' with respondents to proceedings under the CCA.

 

Cartels and agency arrangements

TPA cover

Read moreThe 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

Merger authorisation

Read moreIn December 2014 the ACCC granted its first RPM authorisation. The Harper Review has recommended retaining the per se prohibition on RPM, but introducing a notification option.

 

ACCC takes on Informed Sources

Image of petrol pump

Read moreThe 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,