Mining companies allowed to co-operate during COVID-19 pandemic

Members of the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) and other mining associations will be able to work together to manage critical services and supplies during the COVID 19 pandemic, after the ACCC granted interim authorisation for the arrangements today.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to shortages and supply chain disruptions for some critical services and supplies used by the mining sector.

7-Eleven and franchisees authorised to co-operate on store opening times

7-Eleven and its franchisees have been granted conditional interim authorisation to discuss potential temporary store closures or reduced trading hours in light of reduced customer demand because of COVID-19 restrictions.

7-Eleven owns and operates stores in competition with its franchisees in some areas and therefore discussions and agreements between them risk breaching the competition laws.

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.

Private and public hospitals in NT and SA authorised to cooperate on COVID-19 response

Private hospitals and health agencies in the Northern Territory and South Australia respectively will be able to cooperate in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, following separate interim authorisations granted by the ACCC today.

Today’s interim authorisations granted to each of the Northern Territory and the State of South Australia follow similar authorisations granted to Victoria and Queensland earlier this month.

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.

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.

Medicine manufacturers to coordinate on COVID-19 response

The ACCC has granted conditional interim authorisation for Medicines Australia (MA), the Generic and Biosimilar Medicines Association (GBMA) and their members to work together to support the continued supply of essential medicines during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Medicines Australia’s members include companies that invent, manufacture and supply medicines and vaccines in the Australian market, while GBMA members are involved in the production of generic and biosimilar medicines.

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.