Petrol prices increased during the March quarter but fuel price apps can help motorists

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s tenth quarterly report on the Australian petroleum industry has found that the quarterly average price for petrol in the March quarter 2017 was 129.1 cents per litre (cpl), which is the highest since the September quarter 2015 (133.2 cpl).

Prices in the five largest cities (i.e. Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth) increased by 7.1 cpl. Retail prices in Perth were the highest with the average retail petrol price in Perth reaching 132.1 cpl.

ACCC consents to variation of 2011 Hunter Valley Access Undertaking

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has consented to the Australian Rail Track Corporation’s (ARTC’s) application to vary the 2011 Hunter Valley Access Undertaking (HVAU). The 2011 HVAU regulates the rail network that is predominantly used to transport coal from the mines in the Hunter Valley to the Port of Newcastle for export.

The final variation application was submitted by ARTC on 16 June 2017. The current undertaking is due to expire on 30 June 2017.

Court sentences online electronics store operator to three months imprisonment following ACCC contempt action

The Federal Court has sentenced Dhruv Chopra, the former operator of online electronics stores Electronic Bazaar and Dream Kart, to three months imprisonment for failing to comply with court orders made against him in May 2015, following ACCC action for contempt of court.

The Court ordered Mr Chopra to serve one month of the sentence immediately with the remainder suspended on condition that for a period of five years he stop:

ACCC issues final determination on NBN Co's 2015-16 revenue controls

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has issued a final determination accepting NBN Co’s submission on its revenue controls for 2015-16.

The ACCC is required to make annual determinations on NBN Co’s revenue controls. The decision sets the amount of revenue that NBN Co is allowed to earn each financial year in order to recover the costs of providing services. The ACCC has also determined that NBN Co’s prices did not exceed the maximum regulated prices in 2015-16.

ACCC won't allow tobacco companies to act together

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is denying authorisation to British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco, and Philip Morris to jointly cease supplying retailers or wholesalers they consider to be supplying illicit tobacco.

Between them, these three companies supply well over 90 per cent of the market for tobacco products in Australia, including all of the major brands.

“This kind of interaction between all of the major competitors raises competition concerns, especially in such a highly concentrated market,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

Australian Competition Tribunal decision on Tabcorp-Tatts merger

The Australian Competition Tribunal has formally made its determination granting merger authorisation for Tabcorp to acquire Tatts and has today published its reasons for decision.

In November 2016 Tabcorp sought informal merger clearance from the ACCC to acquire Tatts.

Shortly after the ACCC released its paper seeking views on potential competition issues in March 2017, Tabcorp withdrew its application for informal clearance and instead lodged an application with the Tribunal for authorisation of its proposed acquisition of Tatts. 

ACCC proposes to grant bulk wheat Port Code exemptions at the Port of Geelong and Port Adelaide

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has released draft determinations proposing to exempt Riordan Grain Services and Semaphore Container Services from certain parts of the mandatory Bulk Wheat Code in relation to their respective operations at the Port of Geelong and Port Adelaide.

“Riordan and Semaphore will both face significant competitive constraint from larger operations. The ACCC’s preliminary view is that it is appropriate to grant exemptions to these smaller players,” ACCC Commissioner Cristina Cifuentes said.

ACCC won't oppose Cabcharge buying Yellow Cabs in Queensland

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will not oppose the proposed acquisition by Cabcharge Australia Limited (ASX:CAB) of Yellow Cabs (Queensland) Pty Ltd.

Yellow Cabs is one of the two large taxi networks in Brisbane, with a market share of approximately 50 per cent. While Cabcharge does not currently operate any taxi networks in Queensland; it does provide non-cash payment services and equipment.

ACCC 2015-16 Water Monitoring Report shows rural water sector adapting to change

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s seventh annual Water Monitoring Report, covering 2015-16, shows the effects of structural changes in the Murray-Darling Basin rural water sector on regulated charges and terminations, transformations, and trades.

“This year’s report highlights that operators and customers are responding to change in a variety of ways,” ACCC Commissioner Cristina Cifuentes said.