Authorisations

Draft authorisation for HCF to set prices for dental services

The ACCC is proposing to grant authorisation to health insurer HCF and participating dentists to agree the maximum price they will charge HCF members for some dental services.

Dentists that participate in HCF’s More For Teeth program agree to cap fees to HCF members for basic preventative and diagnostic services so that members don’t have to pay a gap. HCF now wants to establish its own dental clinics and charge the same fees for these basic services.

ACCC authorises WA and NT LNG producers

The ACCC has authorised Chevron, INPEX, Shell and Woodside (ASX:WPL) to coordinate maintenance activities at their LNG facilities in Western Australia and Northern Territory. 

The four LNG producers compete for a limited pool of skilled contractors and specialised equipment to conduct scheduled maintenance.

“LNG producers can now schedule maintenance together without risking breaching competition laws, reducing concurrent work at their facilities. This will improve efficiency and maximise LNG production,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

Draft decision on Port of Brisbane and Carnival agreement

The ACCC is proposing to allow arrangements between the Port of Brisbane and Carnival Cruise Line that will support the development of a new $158 million dedicated cruise liner terminal in Brisbane.

The parties have sought authorisation for an agreement between them under which Carnival will be bound by take or pay obligations for the new terminal, meaning Carnival will pay a fixed yearly amount to the Port over the term of the 15 year agreement.

ACCC proposes to re-authorise Qantas Emirates alliance

The ACCC is proposing to grant re-authorisation to an alliance between Qantas Airways Limited (ASX: QAN) and Emirates for a further five years.

The global alliance covers Qantas’ and Emirates’ air passenger and cargo transport operations. The ACCC first authorised the alliance in 2013 for five years.

“The ACCC considers that the alliance is likely to continue to result in a range of public benefits,” ACCC Commissioner Roger Featherston said.

ACCC allows Jetstar's Asian brands to coordinate

The ACCC has decided to re-authorise the continued coordination of three Qantas (ASX: QAN) Asian-based joint ventures: Jetstar Asia, Jetstar Pacific and Jetstar Japan.

The Jetstar joint venture airlines are also seeking to coordinate with their shareholding airlines Qantas, Japan Airlines and Vietnam Airlines, on passenger and cargo services within Asia.

The decision continues an ACCC authorisation made in 2013.

Remote Indigenous communities to remain ATM fee-free

The ACCC has granted re-authorisation for banks to provide fee-free ATM services in certain very remote Indigenous communities for 10 years.

Under the arrangement, participating banks and ATM deployers provide fee-free ATM withdrawals and balance enquiries at up to 85 selected ATMs for customers of those banks.

“People living in very remote Indigenous communities can often pay high levels of total ATM fees due to frequent ATM usage to check balances and withdraw money, and a lack of access to alternatives,” ACCC Commissioner Roger Featherston said.

SA chicken growers authorised to collectively bargain

The ACCC has granted authorisation to the South Australian Baiada Growers Group (the Growers Group) to collectively bargain the terms and conditions of chicken grower contracts with chicken meat processor, Baiada Poultry Pty Ltd (Baiada).

The Growers Group represents all chicken growers currently contracted to Baiada in South Australia. Most of the 20 broiler chicken farmer members are small businesses. Authorisation is granted for ten years.

Participation in collective bargaining is voluntary for members of the Growers Group, and for Baiada.

ACCC to oppose BP's acquisition of Woolworths service stations

The ACCC has announced today that it intends to oppose the proposed acquisition by B P Australia Pty Ltd of Woolworths Limited’s (ASX:WOW) network of retail service station sites.

Woolworths currently operates 531 sites and has 12 sites in development. BP supplies fuel to approximately 1,400 BP-branded service stations throughout Australia, setting fuel prices at roughly 350 of them.

“We consider that BP acquiring Woolworths’ service stations will be likely to substantially lessen competition in the retail supply of fuel,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

ACCC proposes to allow coordination to continue between Jetstar's Asian brands

The ACCC is proposing to re-authorise, for a further five years, coordination involving three Asian based Jetstar branded joint ventures: Jetstar Asia, Jetstar Pacific, and Jetstar Japan.

The Jetstar joint ventures wish to continue coordinating with each other. Jetstar is also seeking to coordinate with their shareholding airlines including Qantas, Japan Airlines and Vietnam Airlines, on passenger and cargo services within Asia in certain circumstances.

ACCC allows agribusinesses to jointly purchase energy

The ACCC is allowing businesses in the new Eastern Energy Buyers Group (EEBG) to establish a joint energy purchasing group and run joint tender processes for electricity and gas for 11 years. 

EEBG’s current members are industrial energy users who operate in the agriculture industry. Members have significant operations in Victoria and some operations interstate. The proposed joint tender process would cover supply of electricity, gas and gas transport services to members of the group.