The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has granted interim authorisation to Northern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (NSROC) and its member councils to run a joint tender for the transfer, processing and disposal of household waste.
As part of the tender, NSROC seeks services from Alternative Waste Treatment facilities. These can cut the amount of rubbish going to landfill by making compost or energy from waste.
The participating councils are Hunters Hill, Ku-ring-gai, Lane Cove, North Sydney, Ryde and Willoughby.
Interim authorisation enables NSROC and the councils to start their tender process up to the point of evaluating bids. The ACCC has also issued for public comment a draft determination proposing to authorise the councils to ultimately contract as a group for the services.
"If the councils combine to offer a larger volume of waste, it could provide incentives for existing providers and possible new entrants for waste transfer, processing and disposal services to compete harder to win the tender," ACCC Deputy Chair Dr Michael Schaper said.
“Combining volume can provide benefits including reducing operational risk and improving incentives for capital investment."
The draft determination proposes to authorise joint contracts until 2030, as NSROC has requested, as bidders are likely to want a considerable period of commercial certainty to make longer-term investments in alternative waste facilities.
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. The ACCC may grant interim authorisation where the ACCC considers it appropriate to allow the parties to engage in conduct while the ACCC is considering the substantive merits of the application.
More information about the application for authorisation, including a copy of the ACCC's determination and public submissions, is available at www.accc.gov.au/AuthorisationsRegister
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