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Information exchange, hub and spoke arrangements and collusion

Rhonda L Smith and Arlen Duke
(2015) 43 Australian Business Law Review 81



The Harper Report, released 31 March 2015, places concerns about price signalling into the broader category of information exchanges. The aim of this article is to consider a particular mechanism which can be used to exchange information, a hub and spoke arrangement, in order to discover whether such arrangements, when anticompetitive, can be relatively easily identified. The article discusses the current legal framework and the Harper Report. Then the nature of hub and spoke arrangements and the purpose of such arrangements are outlined. The means by which these arrangements may damage competition is then discussed, as are the conditions required for such an outcome. Consideration is then given to whether the introduction of a prohibition against “concerted practices” is the best way to regulate information exchanges. Finally, the potential for the prohibition suggested in the Harper Report to be over-inclusive is considered and refinements to the current wording of s 45 are suggested.



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