ACCC holiday operations

As the ACCC will have limited operations during the Christmas and New Year period, we wanted to provide you with details of arrangements over the break.

ACCC offices: Our offices will be closed from 5pm on Friday 21 December 2018 until 8:30am on Tuesday 2 January 2019.

ACM to pay $750,000 for misleading, harassing and coercing consumers

The Federal Court has ordered one of Australia’s largest debt collection firms, ACM Group Ltd, to pay $750,000 in penalties for ACM’s misleading, harassing, coercive and unconscionable pursuit of unpaid debts from two vulnerable consumers.

Between 2011 and 2015, ACM pursued two consumers, one who was resident in a care facility and the other a single parent with limited income, for unpaid mobile services debt which ACM purchased from Telstra.

‘Tobacco-Free’ certification trademark may be accepted

The ACCC is proposing to accept an application for a certification trademark that signals to potential investors that investments by a fund manager or financial institution are ‘tobacco-free’.

Tobacco Free Portfolios Limited, which maintains a list of businesses involved in the manufacture of tobacco products, has applied to register the Tobacco Free certification trademark.

Draft decision on interstate rail network access undertaking

The ACCC will not accept the proposed 2018 interstate rail network access undertaking lodged by the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC), in a draft decision announced today.

“The ACCC considers that the proposed access undertaking is not acceptable on a number of fronts,” ACCC Commissioner Cristina Cifuentes said.

“In making our draft decision we have had regard to a number of fundamental issues being proposed by ARTC and the lack of information available to the ACCC and the above-rail operators to assess the impact of these.”

ACCC will not oppose Thales-Gemalto deal

The ACCC has decided not to oppose Thales S.A.’s proposed acquisition of Gemalto N.V, after accepting a court-enforceable undertaking from Thales to divest part of its business.

French company Thales and Dutch company Gemalto both supply data security products, including enterprise encryption software and hardware security modules (HSM) in Australia.

The ACCC’s investigation focused on the markets for the supply of general purpose (GP) HSMs and payment HSMs.

ACCC concerned by NCC’s draft recommendation on Port of Newcastle

The ACCC is extremely concerned about the potential removal of regulation of the shipping channel service at the Port of Newcastle following the release of the National Competition Council’s (NCC’s) preliminary view to recommend that the Treasurer revoke declaration of the service.

The port provides the only commercially viable means of exporting coal from the Hunter Valley region in New South Wales. The port was privatised in 2014 via a 98-year lease to Port of Newcastle Operations.

Prices for Christmas Island transmission services to be examined

The ACCC has today issued binding rules of conduct (BROC) setting out interim prices for new wholesale transmission services to Christmas Island.

The rules set interim price terms for access to regulated Domestic Transmission Capacity Services (DTCS) which will be provided over recently-constructed long-distance subsea cable infrastructure.

Transmission services, also known as backhaul, are high capacity wholesale services that carry large volumes of voice, data and video traffic, often over long distances.

Rural Doctors get approval to negotiate

The ACCC has authorised the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) to negotiate contracts with hospitals and health facilities on behalf of rural doctors.

RDAA will be allowed to negotiate terms and conditions for GPs, locums and other rural doctors, working as Visiting Medical Officers in public hospitals and health facilities.

The approval, granted for 10 years, also applies to doctors who provide after-hours services and other primary health care services.

Murray Irrigation breaches water charge rules

The ACCC has determined that Murray Irrigation Limited breached the Water Charge (Infrastructure) Rules, however it has decided to resolve the matter administratively without enforcement action.

Between December 2016 and November 2018, Murray Irrigation Limited failed to publish all required information on the water charges it imposes under two agreements with non-irrigation customers, WaterNSW and the Office of Environment and Heritage.