Media

Retailers granted authorisation to collectively negotiate with landlords

The ACCC has granted interim authorisation allowing retailers to collectively bargain with landlords about rent relief during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The interim authorisation, granted to the Australian Retailers Association and its current and future members, will also allow retailers to share information relevant to the negotiations including in relation to requests by landlords for certain information as part of considering and negotiating support to be provided in the context of COVID-19.

Petrol retailers should reduce their prices in line with falls in international petrol prices

Petrol retailers should not use the current pandemic to further increase profits, which the latest ACCC petrol industry report shows have risen in recent years, and should pass on the full benefit of falling oil prices to motorists, the ACCC has said.

Weekly average international crude oil prices have decreased by around US$ 50 per barrel since the beginning of the year and this has largely flowed through to Australian wholesale petrol prices, which have decreased by around 50 cents per litre (cpl) in the same period.

Expanded co-operation for energy sector during pandemic

The ACCC has granted new interim authorisation for an expanded range of measures allowing participants in the gas and electricity markets to work together to help safeguard Australia’s energy supply during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On April 3, the ACCC granted interim authorisation to the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), allowing energy market participants to co-operate on certain measures intended to maintain secure and reliable energy supplies while the pandemic continues.

Co-ordination on life insurance for frontline workers during pandemic

The ACCC has granted interim authorisation allowing life insurers to co-ordinate to ensure frontline healthcare workers are not excluded from coverage due to potential or actual exposure to COVID-19.

The interim authorisation, granted to the Financial Services Council (FSC) and its members, means that exposure to COVID-19 cannot be used as a reason to decline life insurance coverage to a frontline health worker, or to charge higher premiums or apply risk exclusions to any new policy.

Private health insurers to cooperate on COVID-19 coverage and deferral of premiums

Private health insurers have been granted conditional interim authorisation to co-ordinate on providing financial relief to policy holders during the COVID-19 pandemic, and broadening insurance coverage to include COVID-19 treatment, tele-health and medical treatment provided at home.

The ACCC granted interim authorisation after receiving an application lodged by Private Healthcare Australia (PHA), Members Health Fund Alliance and the members of both groups.

ACCC concludes investigation into CBH’s Paddock Planner App

The ACCC has concluded its investigation into Cooperative Bulk Handling Ltd’s (CBH) promotion of its Paddock Planner App (PP App) which it had commenced after concerns were expressed by growers.

The PP App is an online estimates tool which collects data from growers about their paddocks, crops and expected yields. For the 2019-20 harvest, CBH offered growers a 50 cents per tonne discount off grain receival fees if they submitted their crop estimates through the PP App.  

Private and public hospitals to cooperate on COVID-19 in Victoria and Queensland

The ACCC has separately authorised private hospitals in Victoria and in Queensland to cooperate with their state health agencies, public hospitals and each other, as they prepare for and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

State governments are seeking to boost the capacity of their health systems during the current health crisis by integrating the operations of public and private hospitals.