ACCC proposes to grant authorisation to eight regional councils in NSW for joint tender for waste services

12 December 2013

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has issued a draft determination proposing to grant authorisation to eight regional councils in NSW to enable them to jointly tender for waste collection services, and recyclables and organic waste processing services for 13 years.

The Councils intend to complete the tender process by the end of 2014 and enter into 10 year contracts for each of the services commencing in 2016.

“The ACCC considers that the proposed conduct is likely to result in public benefits and limited public detriment,” ACCC Deputy Chair Dr Michael Schaper said.

“A single process is more likely to result in transaction cost savings and produce a more efficient and competitive outcome.”

The ACCC consulted with a range of interested parties, including waste services providers, local councils, industry associations and government authorities.

“The submissions received by the ACCC were supportive of the joint tender, and waste services providers did not raise concerns about their ability to participate in the joint tender,” Dr Schaper said.

A feature of the proposed arrangements is that the councils have the ability to choose whether they want to accept an offer which is made on a regional basis or pursue an individual contract. The ACCC has previously authorised similar conduct for other groups of councils in NSW.

The ACCC is seeking submissions from interested parties in relation to its draft determination, before making a final decision.

The councils participating in this joint tender are Bathurst Regional Council, Blayney Shire Council, Blue Mountains City Council, Cabonne Council, Forbes Shire Council, Orange City Council, Parkes Shire Council and Wellington Council. These councils are located close to each other in the central and eastern subregions of NSW.

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, including a copy of the draft determination, is available on the authorisation register.

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