The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has issued a draft determination proposing to allow the Victorian Association of Newsagents (VANA) to negotiate on behalf of its members with six magazine and newspaper publishers.

VANA represents around 460 newsagents in Victoria. The publishers are APN News & Media Limited, Bauer Media Pty Limited, Fairfax Media Limited, Integrated Publication Solutions Pty Ltd, Gordon and Gotch Australia Pty Ltd and News Limited.

The ACCC is proposing to grant reauthorisation for ten years.

“Collective bargaining allows newsagents to share negotiation resources and coordinate their approach to publishers,” ACCC Deputy Chair Dr Michael Schaper said.

“The arrangement may lead to a more efficient negotiating process for both newsagents and publishers.”

The ACCC also recently released a draft determination proposing to grant authorisation for the Australian Newsagents Federation to collectively negotiate with publishers. Should this authorisation also be granted, Victorian newsagents will have a choice of collective bargaining arrangements.

“Due to the voluntary nature of both proposed arrangements, newsagents and publishers also have the option of dealing with each other directly,” Dr Schaper said.

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.

The ACCC is now seeking submissions on the draft determination.