Authorisations

Authorised code to improve protections for solar and energy storage consumers

The ACCC has authorised a new consumer code for retailers of products such as solar generation systems, energy storage systems, electrical vehicle charging and other emerging energy products and services, subject to conditions.

The New Energy Tech Consumer Code (the Code) sets minimum standards of good practice and consumer protection. It applies to all aspects of customers’ interactions with participating retailers, including marketing, sales, finance and payments, warranties and complaints handling processes.

Views sought on competition exemption for liner shipping

The ACCC is seeking comments on a possible class exemption for liner shipping from competition laws, in a discussion paper released today.

Liners that provide cargo shipping services to or from Australia currently enjoy broad exemptions from Australia’s competition laws.

Part X of the Competition and Consumer Act permits liner shipping operators to enter into agreements with each other about commercial matters such as freight rates, the vessels to be used, and the quantity and kinds of cargo carried on particular trade routes.

Proposal to authorise BP, Qantas loyalty scheme arrangements

The ACCC is proposing to grant authorisation allowing Qantas, BP Australia and independent BP petrol stations to collectively participate in the BP Rewards, Qantas Frequent Flyer and Qantas Business Reward programs, in a draft determination released today.

The ACCC proposes to grant a five-year authorisation for these arrangements, which include allowing BP to require BP-branded petrol stations to take part in the Qantas rewards programs. This would be a condition of new BP petrol station franchise agreements and when existing agreements are renewed.

Virgin Australia authorised to cooperate with Virgin Atlantic

The ACCC has issued a determination authorising Virgin Australia (ASX: VAH) to more closely cooperate with Virgin Atlantic on flights between Australia and the UK and Ireland; via Hong Kong, Los Angeles and any other future connecting points.

Virgin Australia and Virgin Atlantic are separate businesses whose services do not currently overlap on any route, and are unlikely to do so in the future.

The businesses already have a codeshare arrangement, which allows each to market flights on planes flown by the other.

Proposal to reject amendments to Kennel Council code

The ACCC is proposing to reject an application for authorisation by the Australian National Kennel Council Limited (ANKC) to amend its code of ethics to require members to register all of their dogs with the local ANKC member body or certain overseas canine organisations.

The ACCC’s draft determination notes ANKC member bodies are Australia’s largest purebred canine pedigree registration service providers. ANKC and its member bodies aim to promote breeding and ownership, dog showing and other related activities for purebred dogs.

Changes to Banking Code should be strengthened

The ACCC proposes to impose conditions on the Australian Banking Association’s (ABA) Banking Code of Practice to ensure the revised Code will benefit low-income consumers and drought-affected farmers.

The ABA, on behalf of its 23 members including the major banks, has sought authorisation to amend its Banking Code in line with recommendations of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry (Hayne Royal Commission).

Proposal to authorise Virgin Australia to cooperate with Virgin Atlantic

The ACCC has issued a draft determination proposing to authorise Virgin Australia (ASX: VAH) to more closely cooperate with Virgin Atlantic on flights between Australia and the UK and Ireland, via Hong Kong, Los Angeles and any other future mutual connecting points.

“Virgin Australia and Virgin Atlantic have asked to be authorised to cooperate more closely to improve their services between Australia and the UK and Ireland and attract more passengers,” ACCC Commissioner Stephen Ridgeway said.

Authorisation proposed for New Energy Tech consumer code

The ACCC proposes to authorise a new consumer code for retailers of products such as solar generation systems, energy storage systems, electrical vehicle charging and other emerging energy products and services.

The New Energy Tech Consumer Code (the Code) sets minimum standards of good practice and consumer protection and will apply to all aspects of customers’ interactions with participating retailers, including marketing; finance and payments; warranties and complaints handling processes.

Meredith Dairy proposal to set minimum prices rejected

The ACCC has issued a final notice revoking a resale price maintenance (RPM) notification lodged by Meredith Dairy, which would have prevented retailers selling its goat cheese products below a price set by Meredith Dairy.

Meredith Dairy had raised concerns that smaller retailers promoting its products at low prices to compete with major supermarket chains had led to demands from other retailers for lower wholesale prices.

Feedback sought on collective bargaining plan for small businesses

The ACCC is seeking views on its proposal to implement a class exemption that would allow small businesses to collectively negotiate with their suppliers and processors, and franchisees and fuel retailers to collectively negotiate with their franchisor or fuel wholesaler, without first having to seek ACCC approval.

Currently, groups of competitors seeking to negotiate together must first obtain formal approval from the ACCC under its ‘authorisation’ or ‘notification’ processes.