The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has issued a determination re-authorising a collective bargaining arrangement put forward by the Australian Medical Association (AMA) for ten years.
The application was lodged by the AMA and its state/territory AMA organisations in Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland and Tasmania.
The collective bargaining arrangements allow each relevant state and territory AMA to negotiate on behalf of general practitioners who provide services in public hospitals and health facilities in rural and remote areas.
“Collective negotiation can create efficiencies and deliver reduced transaction costs through more effective input into contracts and a reduction in the time and resources spent on numerous negotiations,” ACCC Deputy Chair Dr Michael Schaper said.
“In turn, the ability to negotiate mutually beneficial contracts may also lead to greater attraction and retention of doctors in rural areas, where access to sufficient medical services could otherwise be limited.”
The AMA currently has an interim authorisation, which will remain in place until the date that the ACCC's final determination comes into effect or is revoked.
Authorisation provides immunity 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 about the application for authorisation and the granting of interim authorisation is available at http://registers.accc.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/1127850/fromItemId/278039