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.

Medicine wholesalers to co-operate on access to pharmaceutical products

Wholesalers of medicines will be able to co-operate to facilitate distribution of essential medication and pharmacy products after being granted interim authorisation by the ACCC.

This follows an application by the National Pharmaceutical Services Association (NPSA) to enable businesses to co-ordinate the supply, inventory management, distribution, logistics, and import of pharmaceuticals needed by consumers and hospitals.

Banks authorised to co-operate on loan relief and services

The ACCC has provided a second, conditional, interim authorisation for the Australian Banking Association (ABA) and banks to co-operate to provide supplementary relief packages for individuals and businesses affected by COVID-19.

The interim authorisation is conditional on banks providing details of any programs and arrangements to the ACCC before implementation, and seeking ACCC approval in some circumstances.

Proposal to set minimum advertised prices on power tools raises concerns

The ACCC plans to revoke a resale price maintenance notification lodged by power tool distributor Stanley Black & Decker, which wanted to set a minimum advertised price for Dewalt brand power tools, accessories and attachments.

Stanley Black & Decker lodged the resale price maintenance notification with the ACCC on 17 October 2019.

In a draft notice issued today, the ACCC proposes to revoke Stanley Black & Decker’s notification, because any public benefits from setting minimum advertised prices for the products would not outweigh the likely detriments.

ACCC authorises Regional Express to coordinate with other airlines

The ACCC has today granted interim authorisation to Regional Express (Rex) allowing it to coordinate flight schedules with Virgin Australia and Qantas Airways on ten important regional flight routes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The interim authorisation will also enable Rex, QantasLink and Virgin to share revenue from providing services on the routes. Importantly, it is conditional on airlines charging fares no higher than those in place on February 1, 2020, meaning the airlines will not be able to coordinate to raise prices.

Australian Banking Association small business relief package

The ACCC has provided urgent interim authorisation to allow the Australian Banking Association (ABA) and banks to work together to implement a small business relief package.

The package will allow for the deferral of principal and interest repayments for loans to small businesses, in all sectors, impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ACCC granted the interim authorisation this afternoon after the ABA’s application was lodged last night.