The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has granted authorisation to a group of Queensland coal producers, known as the RG Tanna Coal Export Terminal Producers (the applicants), to collectively negotiate with Gladstone Ports Corporation (GPC).
The applicants wish to negotiate collectively with GPC in relation to the terms and conditions of new coal handling and port services agreements at Gladstone Port in Queensland.
“This arrangement is likely to result in a net public benefit, including the benefits of transactions cost savings and better input into contracts,” ACCC Deputy Chair Dr Michael Schaper said
“Importantly, collective negotiations are voluntary and GPC is supportive of the arrangements.”
The ACCC has granted authorisation for 16 years and considers that this period is appropriate in order to provide the parties with commercial certainty, due to the current development of the Port.
The applicants were previously granted interim authorisation to allow them to collectively negotiate with GPC and enter into agreements, provided that the applicants do not give effect to any such agreement unless and until final authorisation is granted by the ACCC. This interim authorisation will remain in place until the date that the ACCC's final determination comes into effect or is revoked.
The RG Tanna Coal Export Terminal Producers are Anglo American Australia Limited, BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance, Cockatoo Coal Limited, Glencore Coal Investments Australia Pty Limited, Idemitsu Australia Resources Pty Ltd, Jellinbah Resources Pty Ltd, Rio Tinto Coal Australia Pty Ltd, Sojitz Coal Mining Pty Ltd, Wesfarmers Resources Ltd and Yancoal Australia Ltd.
Authorisation provides statutory protection from court action for conduct that might otherwise raise concerns under the competition provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. Broadly, the ACCC may grant an authorisation when it is satisfied that the public benefit from the conduct outweighs any public detriment.
Further information on the determination is available on the public register.