Authorisations

ACCC grants interim approval to performing rights arrangement

The ACCC has granted conditional interim authorisation to the Australasian Performing Right Association Ltd (APRA) for its arrangements for the acquisition and licensing of performing rights in music.

APRA holds the rights for the performance of almost all music in Australia.  A large number of businesses, including retail businesses, hospitality venues and broadcasters, must purchase a licence from APRA to broadcast music.  APRA distributes the royalties to its member composers, songwriters and music publishers who also need APRA to collect their royalties.

ACCC grants interim approval to Office Choice members and franchises

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has granted interim authorisation to Office Choice Limited, Office Brands Limited, Office Products Depot Limited, and the members and franchisees of these companies (collectively Office Choice) to collectively bargain, or appoint intermediaries to collectively bargain on their behalf, with office products suppliers.

“Interim authorisation allows Office Choice’s members and franchises to continue to collectively bargain with office products suppliers,” ACCC Deputy Chair Dr Michael Schaper said. 

ACCC allows electricity generators to jointly negotiate

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has granted authorisation to allow Queensland power generators CS Energy, Callide Energy, InterGen and Callide Power Management (the applicants) to jointly renegotiate existing coal supply arrangements with Anglo Coal.

The arrangements relate to coal supplied to the Callide B and Callide C power stations in central Queensland by the nearby coal mine owned by Anglo Coal.

The ACCC previously granted authorisation to the applicants in 2006 to jointly negotiate with Anglo Coal for the purposes of a price review.

ACCC proposes to grant authorisation to allow coordination in relation to the use of PINs

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is proposing to allow Visa and MasterCard, together with American Express and participating financial institutions, to coordinate in relation to the removal of signatures as a method of authentication for most credit card transactions that are completed in person.

ACCC authorises Homeworkers Code of Practice

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission authorised a revised form of the Homeworkers Code of Practice for five years.

The Homeworker Code Committee sought authorisation as the Code contains an agreement to only outsource work to contractors who comply with workplace laws.

“The ACCC considers that the Code is likely to provide businesses with a means to manage risks in their outsourced supply chains, and efficiently signal their compliance with workplace legal obligations,” ACCC Commissioner Dr Jill Walker said.

ACCC grants interim authorisation to Queensland Government for liquor accord

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has granted interim authorisation to the State of Queensland, acting through the Office of Liquor and Gaming, for its pro-forma liquor accord.

The pro-forma liquor accord was authorised by the ACCC in 2010 for a period of three years. Interim authorisation effectively extends the existing authorisation while the ACCC considers an application for re-authorisation.

ACCC grants interim authorisation to regional councils in NSW for waste services arrangements

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has granted interim authorisation to eight regional councils in New South Wales to enable them to commence work on joint tenders for waste collection, recycling and organic waste services.

“Interim authorisation will allow the councils to commence the tender processes in a timely manner and to ensure that they can invite tenders by February 2014. The existing contracts will remain in place until expiry in December 2015,” ACCC Commissioner Dr Jill Walker said.

ACCC opposes fee arrangements by ophthalmologists

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has decided not to allow members of the Australian Society of Ophthalmologists (ASO) to reach agreements within shared practices as to the fees to be charged for ophthalmic services.

There are around 810 practicing ophthalmologists (eye surgeons) in Australia, with most working in major cities. The ASO represents 60 per cent of ophthalmologists.

ACCC grants interim authorisation to Visa and MasterCard for coordinated campaign

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has granted interim authorisation to Visa and MasterCard to permit them and specific financial institutions to jointly fund and coordinate a public communications campaign. The campaign will encourage cardholders to set PINs (personal identification numbers) and use them for credit card transactions completed at points of sale.

The ACCC has been advised that American Express and Diners Club will also have the ability to have their logos included on the advertising materials.