Notification

  • Notification is one process for gaining an exemption.

  • A business can notify the ACCC if conduct it is planning will or may breach competition law.

  • Notification can be used for exclusive dealing, resale price maintenance and some collective bargaining and collective boycotts.

  • We may remove this protection if we are satisfied that the conduct would substantially lessen competition or is not in the public interest.
  • Notification is a public process, but businesses can ask to keep some information confidential.

What the ACCC does

  • We receive and assess notifications.
  • We give businesses general guidance on the notification process.

What the ACCC can't do

  • We don’t give advice about whether a planned arrangement would break the law.

About notification

A business that is planning an arrangement that will or may breach competition rules in the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 requires an exemption.

Notification is one process for gaining an exemption.

Notification is usually simpler and faster than authorisation. However, it's only allowed for certain conduct.

The process involves notifying the ACCC of the arrangement. It removes the risk of legal action for the arrangement.

Businesses are responsible for assessing their own risk and deciding whether to seek an exemption. They may want to get independent legal advice.

When notification can be used

Exclusive dealing

A business planning an exclusive dealing arrangement that may substantially lessen competition can seek an exemption by lodging a notification.

Resale price maintenance

A supplier that believes a particular instance of resale price maintenance to be in the public interest can seek an exemption by lodging a notification.

Some collective bargaining and collective boycotts

For collective boycotts, and for collective bargaining that is not covered by the class exemption, businesses can generally seek an exemption by lodging a notification.

However, authorisation is needed for trade unions and for businesses that expect to make transactions worth more than $3 million over 12 months under the collective bargaining arrangement.

How to lodge a notification

Any of the businesses involved in the planned arrangement can lodge a notification on behalf of all participating businesses.

An industry association can also lodge a notification on behalf of members.

1. Discuss the notification with us

Before lodging a notification, we encourage businesses to contact us for a discussion. We can give general guidance on:

  • which exemption processes are suitable for different activities
  • the notification process
  • what information and evidence to include in the notification
  • how notifications are assessed.

Contact the ACCC on 02 6243 1368 or at exemptions@accc.gov.au.

2. Prepare the notification

Prepare a document with the information set out in the Notification of proposed collective bargaining, exclusive dealing or resale price maintenance guide and form.

For detailed guidance on preparing each type of notification, read the relevant notification guidelines:

Notification is a transparent public process. Notification documents are published online on our public registers.

However, businesses can ask to exclude confidential information from the public register. In these cases, they must also provide a public version of the notification with enough information to allow us to consult with stakeholders.

Read the Guidelines for excluding confidential information from the public register for authorisation and notification processes

3. Pay the lodgement fee

The lodgement fee is:

  • $2500 for exclusive dealing notifications ($500 concessional)
  • $1000 for resale price maintenance, collective bargaining and collective boycott notifications ($0 concessional).

Concessional fees may apply for closely related notifications lodged within 14 days of the first notification.

Pay by electronic funds transfer

We prefer payment to be made by electronic funds transfer to:

Account name: ACCC Administered receipts account
Bank: Westpac Banking Corporation
BSB: 032-730
Account number: 146550
Payment narrative: <name of company> <form name e.g. Form G>

Other ways to pay

Payment can also be made:

  • online at ACCC Payments by credit card (Visa or Mastercard)
  • by cheque made out to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, and posted to:
    General Manager Competition Exemptions Branch
    Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
    GPO Box 3131 CANBERRA ACT 2601

4. Submit the notification

Notifications can be lodged electronically through the Authorisations and notifications web form.

Other ways to submit

Alternatively, submit the notification by post or in person at an ACCC office.

Changing or withdrawing the notification

Changes cannot be made to the notification once it has been submitted. However, it can be withdrawn at any time by telling us in writing.

What happens after we receive a notification

We publish the notification

Once we have received a notification, we first make sure it is valid. We then begin our assessment and publish the notification on the relevant public register:

ACCC assesses the notification

To assess a notification, we will review the information provided. We may also ask for more information and consult with stakeholders.

There are different criteria to assess notifications depending on which provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 may be breached.

We assess collective bargaining, collective boycott and resale price maintenance only for whether the likely benefit to the public from the planned arrangement is likely to outweigh the likely detriment to the public from the notified conduct.

We assess exclusive dealing for whether:

  • the planned arrangement is not likely to substantially lessen competition
  • the likely public benefit outweighs the likely public harm.

ACCC makes a decision

After assessing a notification, we will decide to either:

  • allow the notification to stand, which allows legal protection to start or continue
  • revoke the notification, which removes legal protection.

If we decide to revoke a notification, we will first issue a draft notice objecting to the notification and saying why we plan to revoke the notification. The applicant and other stakeholders can respond before a final decision on whether to revoke is made.

When legal protection starts

After a valid notification has been lodged, legal protection begins:

  • immediately for exclusive dealing
  • after 14 days for collective bargaining with no collective boycott and resale price maintenance
  • after 60 days for collective bargaining with a collective boycott.

This legal protection is provided by default, unless the ACCC takes action to stop it by objecting to or revoking the notification.

See also

Exclusive dealing notification guidelines

Resale price maintenance notification guidelines

Small business collective bargaining notification and authorisation guidelines

Guidelines for excluding confidential information from the public register for authorisation and notification processes

Exclusive dealing notifications register

Resale price maintenance notifications register

Collective bargaining notifications register

Exclusive dealing

Resale price maintenance

Collective bargaining and collective boycotts

Exemptions