The ACCC’s Annual Report for 2016–17 has been tabled in Parliament, highlighting a broad range of successes that have promoted competition and fair trade to benefit consumers, businesses and the community.
“The 2016-17 financial year marked the first ever successful criminal cartel conduct brought by the ACCC in July 2016 against Japanese shipping company Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK). This case resulted in a fine of $25 million in August 2017, the second largest competition penalty in Australia. The ACCC’s action against NYK was a watershed moment in Australia’s competition law history, demonstrating the significant repercussion for engaging in this destructive practice,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.
“The ACCC also took action against Ramsay Health Care for alleged anti-competitive conduct involving misuse of market power and exclusive dealing in this period.We had significant outcomes in other competition matters including a $9 million penalty against ANZ, a $6 million penalty against Macquarie Bank, and success in the High Court against Flight Centre, Air New Zealand and Garuda Indonesia.”
“The ACCC took 19 court actions for alleged breaches of consumer law in the past year, including against Murray Goulburn, Thermomix, Apple, Kimberly Clark and Volkswagen. Our successful appeal against Reckitt Benckiser increased penalties to $6 million and was a great outcome for consumers that had bought Nurofen pain products. We were also successful in our matter against Acquire, who used unfair sales tactics to pressure consumers to enrol students in a vocational training course and were ordered to pay penalties of $4.5 million,” Mr Sims said.
Click to enlargeThe ACCC continued to assess a large volume of product safety matters over the past year, conducting 82 detailed assessments of emerging product safety hazards, publishing 592 voluntary recalls and assessed 1,525 mandatory reports.
“Some 288 merger matters were considered by the ACCC in 2016-17. Of the 33 mergers that underwent a public review, 16 went on to a second-phase review. On eight of these occasions, the parties did not proceed with the transaction. Twenty-three authorisations were granted, giving businesses immunity for conduct found to be in the public’s interest. Four authorisations were denied, including a proposal for banks to jointly bargain about access to Apple Pay,” Mr Sims said.
The ACCC has also seen a significant increase in business and consumer engagement over the past year. Our Infocentre served over 264,000 contacts, while access for consumer and business education resources surged past 3.5 million and 1.3 million respectively online.
In 2016-17 the ACCC continued its market studies work into sectors including new car retailing, dairy, regional petrol prices, and gas and electricity affordability. It also continued its regular reporting of important sectors such as airports, stevedoring, petrol and water.
“The ACCC’s work has achieved great results for businesses and consumers and I’m proud of all we have achieved in the past year,” Mr Sims said.
A full copy of the ACCC & AER Annual Report is available at https://www.accc.gov.au/publications/accc-aer-annual-report/accc-aer-annual-report-2016-17
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