Time limits for access undertakings & disputes

The Competition and Consumer Act 2010 sets time limits for ACCC to make decisions on access undertakings and final determinations for arbitration applications.

Access undertakings

The ACCC must make a decision on an access undertaking application within 180 days, beginning on the day that it receives the application.

The 180 day period may in effect be extended by ‘clock stoppers.’ That is, the Act provides that certain periods of time are not counted when calculating the 180 period. This occurs where:

  • the ACCC and the access provider agree to stop the clock;
  • the ACCC gives a notice requesting further information in relation to the application;
  • the ACCC publishes a notice inviting public submissions in relation to an application; or
  • the ACCC publishes a decision to defer consideration of whether to accept the undertaking while the ACCC arbitrates an access dispute.

If the ACCC does not publish a decision on the undertaking within the 180 day period (or longer period having regard to clock-stoppers), then the Act states that the application is deemed to have been rejected.

Access disputes

The ACCC must make a final determination within 180 days from the day an arbitration application is received.

The 180 day period may in effect be extended by ‘clock stoppers.’ That is, the Act provides that certain periods of time are not counted when calculating the 180 period. This occurs where:

  • the ACCC and the parties to the dispute agree to stop the clock;
  • the ACCC gives a direction requesting further information or submissions in relation to the dispute;
  • the ACCC publishes a decision to defer consideration of the dispute while it considers an access undertaking;
  • the ACCC defers arbitrating the dispute while a declaration is under review by the Australian Competition Tribunal.

More information

National access regime under part IIIA of the Act

Tags

Audience