ACCC targets quad bike, button battery and furniture safety

Chairman Rod Sims today announced the ACCC’s product safety priorities for 2018 at the National Consumer Congress in Sydney, and reaffirmed support for a general safety provision to be introduced in Australia law to reduce the risk of unsafe goods entering the market.

“Today, I am proud to release a new policy which sets out how the ACCC prioritises and manages product safety risks, and the issues we will target in 2018. As an agency, it is essential that we prioritise our product safety resource allocation,” Mr Sims said.

Strong concerns about Pacific National’s proposal to buy Aurizon intermodal assets

The ACCC has raised preliminary competition concerns about Pacific National’s proposed acquisitions of Aurizon’s (ASX:AZJ) Queensland intermodal freight haulage business and intermodal rail terminal at Acacia Ridge in Brisbane.

Currently, Pacific National and Aurizon are the only providers of intermodal rail linehaul services in Queensland and compete closely with each other.

Mortgage pricing not strongly competitive

The opaque pricing of discounts offered on residential mortgage rates makes it difficult for customers to make informed choices and disadvantages borrowers who do not regularly review their choice of lender, a report by the ACCC has found.

The ACCC’s Residential Mortgage Price Inquiry is monitoring the prices charged by the five banks affected by the Government’s Major Bank Levy: Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), Macquarie Bank Limited, National Australia Bank Limited (NAB), and Westpac Banking Corporation.

Vale Professor Bob Baxt AO

The ACCC was sad to learn of the passing of Professor Bob Baxt AO, former Chairman of the Trade Practices Commission (1988-1991), which later became the ACCC.

“Bob was a true champion of competition law in Australia and leaves a lasting legacy,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

“Bob was involved in the development of competition and consumer law over more than four decades as academic, regulator, practitioner and commentator. He remained engaged and active in teaching and publishing into 2018.”  

ACCC will not take action in relation to Qube MCS deal

The ACCC has announced that it will not take any further action in relation to Qube Holdings Limited’s (ASX:QUB) completed acquisition of Maritime Container Services Pty Ltd (MCS).

The ACCC’s investigation focused on the supply chain for containerised freight through Port Botany, particularly the role of empty container parks in this chain. MCS controls Cooks River, a significant container park with rail sidings that is used by some of Qube’s rivals, often for regional containerised rail freight.

ACCC will not oppose Accor's acquisition of Mantra

The ACCC has today announced that it will not oppose the proposed acquisition of Mantra Group Limited (ASX: MTR) (Mantra) by AAPC Limited (Accor).

Accor’s business is mainly focused on hotel-style accommodation and its brands include Sofitel, Novotel, Mercure and ibis. Mantra’s focus is on serviced apartments, which it offers through its Peppers, Art Series, Mantra and Breakfree brands.

ACCC approves Telstra's proposed variation to NBN Migration Plan

The ACCC has approved Telstra’s proposed variation to the NBN Migration Plan to enable fibre to the curb (FTTC) as a new access technology for NBN connections.

The Migration Plan outlines steps Telstra will take to progressively migrate voice and broadband services from its existing copper and hybrid-fibre coaxial (HFC) networks to the NBN.

Stakeholders identified concerns with NBN Co's proposed connection processes, in response to a discussion paper we released in December on Telstra’s proposed FTTC variation.