Summary

This collective bargaining ‘class exemption’ allows eligible small business to collectively bargain without breaching competition laws.

The class exemption allows:

  • businesses with an aggregated turnover of less than $10 million in the financial year prior to them forming or joining a bargaining group to collectively bargain with customers or suppliers, and 
  • franchisees and fuel retailers to collectively bargain with their franchisor or fuel wholesaler (respectively) regardless of their size.

The class exemption is available for businesses to use from 3 June 2021.

Groups wishing to rely on this class exemption must complete a one-page notice form (available below) and provide it to the ACCC when the group is formed and to each target business when the group seeks to negotiate with the target business.

Once the notice is lodged, legal protection from competition laws commences automatically. Instructions for filling out the notice are included in the form. There is no fee for lodging the notice.

Completed notices will be published on this public register page.

Businesses who fall outside the scope of the class exemption can still use the ACCC’s authorisation and notification processes to seek legal protection for collective bargaining.

The class exemption will provide legal protection to eligible businesses who have lodged their one-page notice form until 30 June 2030. The ACCC will conduct a review in 2029 to decide whether to extend the class exemption.

What is a class exemption?

A class exemption is a way for the ACCC to grant businesses an exemption from competition law for certain type of conducts that may otherwise risk breaching competition laws, but that:

  • do not substantially lessen competition, and/or
  • are likely to result in overall public benefits.

This class exemption relates to collective bargaining: a process that allows groups of businesses to jointly negotiate with their customers or suppliers over common issues (e.g. terms, conditions and/or prices). Negotiating as a group can allow businesses to share the time and cost of negotiating contracts, and potentially give group members more input into contract terms and conditions. There are often also time and cost savings for the suppliers or franchisor the group is bargaining with.

Further background on the process the ACCC undertook in developing this class exemption is available here.

The ACCC’s Guidelines (available below) provide further detail about how this class exemption operates, including the criteria businesses must meet to be eligible for the class exemption.

The class exemption does not force anyone to join a collective bargaining group, or force a customer, supplier or franchisor to deal with the bargaining group if they do not want to. The target business will be free to continue to negotiate with each member of the group individually. The class exemption simply removes the risk that collective bargaining by eligible businesses will breach the competition law.

Notice Form and Guide

Document title Date
Notice form
Guidelines

Notices lodged

Document title Date
A group of doctors who provide medical services in public hospitals and community health facilities in regional and remote areas in States and Territories other than NSW
PropertyNow, RealEstateYourself, For Sale By Home Owner, and Minus The Agent
The Dealer Council of Australia Inc on behalf of Kenworth Trucks and DAF Trucks dealers authorised by franchise agreements
Group of transport owner driver carriers
Baiada Chicken and Turkey Growers – 7 December 2023
Boral concrete carters
Group of ginger farmers in Australia
Queensland Chicken Growers
Squires Loft Franchisee
Kopro Chicken Growers
Tasmanian Southern Chicken Growers Co-Operative
Authorised retailers of Mercedes-Benz motor vehicles
Franchisees of Jaguar Land Rover Australia Pty Limited
Inghams Meat Chicken Farmers (growers) in South Australia
Private opioid dependence treatment providers in NSW
Five anaesthesiologists providing anaesthesia services at St John of God Bendigo Hospital
Franchisees of Jaguar Land Rover Australia Pty Ltd
Anaesthetists providing anaesthetic services within the Melbourne Endoscopy Group
A group of medical contractors providing services to public patients at Northern Beaches Hospital
Northern Tasmanian Chicken Growers Group
Specialist anaesthetists providing services to public health system patients in Victoria
Independent Cinemas Australia Inc
Newsagents Association of NSW and ACT Ltd – The Lottery Corporation Limited
Anaesthetists at Healthe Care Australia Hospital and LINGARD Day Centre, NSW
Franchisees and dealers of Toyota Motor Corporation Australia Limited
Boral concrete carters
Group of doctors providing specialist reproductive health services in Victoria
Franchisees of Mazda Australia Pty Ltd
A group of less than 10 doctors providing specialist reproductive health services
Owner-driver couriers contracted to Toll IPEC in South Australia
TFGA Small Seeds Growers Group
Healthcare providers at St George private hospital in Kogarah
Highlands Potatoes and Ag
MYOB developer companies
Boral concrete carters
NSW Central Coast Anaesthetists
Retirees WA
Boral concrete carters
Pre mixed concrete cartage contractors operating in the greater Perth region
Anaesthetists providing obstetric anaesthetists services through Pulse Anaesthetists
Australian Medical Association (WA) on behalf of medical practitioner independent contractors at Peel Health Campus
Totally Workwear Franchisees of The Workwear Group Pty Ltd
Australian Society of Anaesthetists on behalf of anaesthetists treating public health system patients in private hospitals in New South Wales
Boral concrete carters
Brisbane medical surgical assistants
Anaesthetists at St Vincent’s Northside Private Hospital
Western Australian doctors
Hogs Breath Café franchisees
Australian Society of Anaesthetists on behalf of anaesthetists treating public health system patients in private hospitals in South Australia
Inghams Enterprises Pty Ltd
Minderoo Foundation on behalf of an expanded group of Australian news businesses collectively bargaining with Alphabet Inc
Minderoo Foundation on behalf of an expanded group of Australian news businesses collectively bargaining with Meta Platforms Inc
Oceania Golf Players Association Pty Ltd
Isuzu Truck Dealers Association of Australia Inc. on behalf of franchisees of Isuzu Truck motor vehicles
Australian Society of Anaesthetists for NSW anaesthetists
Kia Dealer Association Inc on behalf of franchisees of Kia vehicles
Minderoo Foundation on behalf of a group of Australian news businesses collectively bargaining with Meta Platforms Inc
Minderoo Foundation on behalf of a group of Australian news businesses collectively bargaining with Alphabet Inc
Nissan motor vehicle franchisees - 04.11.21 - CBCE
Mitsubishi motor vehicle franchisees
Australian Society of Anaesthetists on behalf of anaesthetists treating public health system patients in private hospitals in Victoria
Newsagents Association of NSW and ACT Ltd – Wrapaway
National Hyundai Dealer Council Limited on behalf of franchisees of Hyundai vehicles
Daimler Truck Dealer Council Inc. on behalf of franchisees of Daimler Truck and Bus vehicles
Franchisees of Mercedes-Benz Australia Pacific Pty Ltd
4 Ampol Petroleum transporters
Dentists and dental practices partially or significantly owned by member(s) of the Australian Dental Association
Thrifty franchisees
Off Airport Parking Operators – Adelaide
Off Airport Parking Operators – Brisbane
Off Airport Parking Operators – Melbourne
Barnacle Bills members of the Australian Association of Franchisees
Franchisees of Mitsubishi Motors Australia Limited
Franchisees of Ford Motor Company of Australia
Franchisees of Isuzu UTE Australia Pty Ltd
Newsagents Association of NSW and ACT Ltd - Rural Press (Australian Community Media)
Newsagents Association of NSW and ACT Ltd - Integrated Publication Solutions Pty Ltd
Newsagents Association of NSW and ACT Ltd - News Corp
Newsagents Association of NSW and ACT Ltd - Nine Entertainment and Fairfax
Franchisees of Isuzu Australia Limited
Newsagents Association of NSW and ACT Ltd - Tabcorp Holdings Limited
Newsagents Association of NSW and ACT Ltd - Are Media
Newsagents Association of NSW and ACT Ltd - Ovato Ltd
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