Media

ACCC to investigate and report on Australian gas markets and market transparency

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will use its inquiry powers, including its ability to compulsorily acquire information, to increase transparency and address opaqueness in the gas market. The ACCC will provide regular information to the market over the next three years on the supply and pricing of gas under a broad reference from the Federal Government.

“This new measure is an important element of the Government’s plan to make sure more affordable gas is available to industry and consumers,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

ACCC issues draft decision on Hunter Valley rail network access undertaking

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has issued a draft decision not to accept the proposed Hunter Valley rail network access undertaking lodged by the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC).

The ACCC considers that the access undertaking is not appropriate in its current form as the key terms, such as the rate of return and approach to calculating weighted average mine life, do not reflect the regulatory and commercial risks faced by ARTC.

ACCC approves cane growers collective bargaining

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has authorised members of the Canegrowers Organisation to collectively bargain cane supply and related contracts with mill owners and sugar marketers for ten years.

“This authorisation can provide an opportunity for growers, millers and sugar marketers to negotiate mutually beneficial contracts without breaching competition laws. It is up to the parties to decide the extent to which they take up this opportunity,” ACCC Commissioner Mick Keogh said.

ACCC proposes to grant authorisation to SA businesses for the joint purchase of electricity

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has issued a draft determination proposing to allow the South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy, along with 24 other South Australian businesses, to establish a joint electricity purchasing group. The ACCC proposes to grant authorisation for 11 years.

The ACCC has also granted interim authorisation to allow the parties to commence a joint tender for the supply of electricity immediately. 

Don’t get scammed by dodgy internet pop-ups

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is warning people to watch out for dodgy internet pop-up windows claiming there are viruses or other seemingly nasty tech problems affecting their computer.

Known as remote access scams, these pop-up windows are used as a ploy to get unsuspecting victims to call a fake support line – usually a 1800 number. The scammer will then ask for remote access to their victim’s computer to ‘find out what the problem is’.

ACCC to monitor Australia's broadband performance

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement today that it will fund a new broadband performance monitoring program to provide Australian consumers with accurate and independent information about broadband speeds.

The program will use hardware-based devices to perform remote testing of around 4,000 households to determine typical speeds on fixed-line NBN services at various times throughout the day.

ACCC takes action against Apple over alleged misleading consumer guarantee representations

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has instituted proceedings in the Federal Court against Apple Pty Limited and its US-based parent company, Apple Inc., (together, Apple) alleging that Apple made false, misleading, or deceptive representations about consumers’ rights under the Australian Consumer Law.

Tougher penalties under new Horticulture Code

The revised nation-wide Horticulture Code, which sets out mandatory requirements for traders and agents operating in Australian fresh fruit and vegetable markets, will include the potential for penalties of up to $54,000 when it comes into effect tomorrow [1 April 2017].

“Farmers producing fruit and vegetables will be given increased protection under the Horticulture Code as it improves competition and commercial practices in fresh fruit and vegetable markets in Australia,” ACCC Commissioner Mick Keogh said.

ACCC releases Statement of Issues on proposed acquisition of InterGrain by AGT

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has issued a Statement of Issues expressing initial concerns about the proposed acquisition of InterGrain Pty Ltd by Australian Grain Technologies Pty Ltd (AGT).

The ACCC’s preliminary view is that the proposed acquisition may substantially lessen competition in relation to the breeding and development of barley seed varieties for the Australian market.

“The proposed acquisition would combine the only two significant players in the breeding and development of barley in Australia,” ACCC Commissioner Mick Keogh said.

ACCC denies authorisation for banks to collectively bargain with Apple and boycott Apple Pay

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has issued a determination denying authorisation to the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac Banking Corporation, National Australia Bank, and Bendigo and Adelaide Bank (the banks) to collectively bargain with Apple and collectively boycott Apple Pay.  

“The ACCC is not satisfied, on balance, that the likely benefits from the proposed conduct outweigh the likely detriments. We are concerned that the proposed conduct is likely to reduce or distort competition in a number of markets,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.