Telecommunication priorities during the COVID-19 crisis

The recent data from the ACCC’s Measuring Broadband Australia test units are showing daytime NBN speeds have not been impacted, and speeds are holding up well on most evenings, ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

“It is clear that NBN Co.’s temporary boost in network capacity which allows RSPs to increase their capacity on the network by up to 40 per cent at no extra cost for three months is underpinning these encouraging results,” Mr Sims said.

Scammers targeting superannuation in COVID-19 crisis

Scammers are now trying to exploit Australians financially impacted by the COVID-19 crisis with new superannuation scams being reported to Scamwatch in recent weeks.

Scammers are already trying to take advantage of the Government’s recent announcement that people suffering financial hardship can have partial access to their superannuation from mid-April.

“Scammers are cold-calling people claiming to be from organisations that can help you get early access to your super,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

Oil companies allowed to co-operate to secure fuel supply during COVID-19 pandemic

Major oil refiners and the Australian Institute of Petroleum (AIP), the industry’s representative body, have been granted interim authorisation by the ACCC to discuss and put in place measures so fuel supplies remain available during the COVID-19 pandemic, and after the economic shutdown ends.

The proposed authorisation will also apply to arrangements between AIP members and suppliers of crude oil and refined fuels, importers, suppliers of storage facilities and trucking or delivery services and wholesalers.

Shopping centres to co-operate to support retail tenants

Shopping centre owners and managers have been granted interim authorisation to discuss and implement rent relief measures for small to medium shopping centre tenants facing hardship because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This follows an application by Shopping Centre Council of Australia Limited (SCCA) and Scentre Group. The SCCA is an industry group representing Australia’s major shopping centre owners, managers and developers. Scentre Group owns and operates retail real estate under management including 42 Westfield shopping centres.

Insurers to offer deferred payments, refunds under small business relief package

Insurance companies and brokers will be able to work together to implement COVID-19 relief measures for certain small businesses following the ACCC’s granting of interim authorisation today.

The authorisation applies to Suncorp, Allianz, and QBE Insurance, as well as any other insurers or insurance brokers who choose to take part, as long as they notify the ACCC.

ACCC guidance on NBN access inquiries

The ACCC has outlined its views on wholesale access terms currently being considered by two NBN-related inquiries in position papers released today.

The ACCC will pause its inquiries, examining both NBN entry-level access pricing and wholesale service standards, to allow the communications sector to focus on its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The position papers provide the ACCC’s current views of the nature and direction of any final access determination (FAD) that the ACCC may make, once circumstances stabilise.

Coal producers can collectively negotiate with Port of Newcastle

The ACCC has granted interim authorisation to the NSW Minerals Council and 10 coal producers to collectively negotiate with Port of Newcastle Operations (PNO) on terms and conditions of access to the port for coal exports, including prices.

The 10 coal producers that export coal through the Port of Newcastle are Glencore Coal, Yancoal Australia, Peabody Energy Australia, Bloomfield Collieries, Centennial Coal, Malabar Coal, Whitehaven Coal, Hunter Valley Energy Coal, Idemitsu Australia, and MACH Energy Australia.

Small business guidance about refunds and cancellations due to COVID-19

Businesses will need to be aware of their rights and obligations when managing refunds and cancellations because of COVID-19, and the ACCC has issued guidance to assist small businesses to understand their rights and obligations under the Australian Consumer Law.

“We know a lot of small businesses are facing a very challenging time, but they still want to do the right thing by their customers,” ACCC Deputy Chair Mick Keogh said.