ACCC & AER annual report 2020-21

Annual Report of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the Australian Energy Regulator (AER).

NSW and ACT universities to collaborate for the return of international students

The ACCC has made its final decision allowing New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory universities to collaborate on travel arrangements for the return of international students for 15 months.

A recently announced NSW Government pilot plan enables the staggered return of fully vaccinated international students to resume their studies. The first phase of the plan is to bring back 500 students by the end of the year.

Guidelines on section 95ZN claims in price inquiries

These Guidelines provide information about the approach taken by the ACCC in assessing whether to disclose information under section 95ZN of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth), where that information has been provided to the ACCC under section 95ZK of the CCA, or made available to the ACCC in written submissions to a price inquiry or given in private at a formal price inquiry hearing.

Honeysuckle Health, nib buying group authorised with condition

The ACCC has authorised Honeysuckle Health and nib Health Funds (ASX: NHF) to form and operate a health services buying group.

The authorisation has been granted with a condition that major insurers Medibank, Bupa, HCF and HBF in Western Australia not be allowed to join the buying group.  The ACCC has also only granted authorisation for five years, rather than the 10 years sought by Honeysuckle Health and nib, to facilitate a review of the effects of the authorisation at an earlier time, if reauthorisation is sought.

Court declares former migration company director Radovan Laski bankrupt

A former director of migration company Clinica Internationale Pty Ltd (Clinica), Radovan Montague Laski (aka Rod or Rodney Laski), has been declared bankrupt by the Federal Circuit Court after an ACCC application for a sequestration order.    

The Court made the order following Mr Laski’s failure to pay more than $380,000 in legal costs after action by the ACCC led to a Federal Court judgment against him.

Medicine wholesalers to continue to co-operate on COVID-19 response

The ACCC has granted interim authorisation to medicine wholesalers to continue to co-operate in providing fair and efficient access to essential medication and pharmacy products as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

The new interim authorisation also allows the National Pharmaceutical Services Association (NPSA) to collectively negotiate on behalf of its members with the Commonwealth government in relation to possible COVID-19 vaccine distribution arrangements.

ACCC proposes to authorise Commercial Radio Australia to collectively bargain with Google and Facebook

The ACCC has issued a draft determination proposing to authorise Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) to collectively negotiate with Facebook and Google over payment for their member stations’ news content featured on the platforms.

CRA, a radio industry association, currently represents 261 member stations, which provide commercial radio broadcasting and audio content to Australian communities on analogue and digital radio and via online platforms.

Preliminary concerns about anti-plagiarism software merger

The ACCC has preliminary competition concerns with Turnitin’s proposed acquisition of Ouriginal.

Turnitin and Ouriginal are international providers of anti-plagiarism software, primarily overlapping in the supply of this software to higher education customers, such as universities. They make up two of only three anti-plagiarism software providers to Australian universities.