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Competition Policy Review (Harper Review)
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17 November 2014 - Last day for Harper Submissions
17 November 2014 - Sims and the NBN
ACCC Chairman, Rod Sims, spoke today in Sydney about the NBN. See ACCC Press Release (NBN presents opportunities for future broadband competition) and the speech (Solving the multi-technology puzzle: The ACCC’s perspective). See also, David Ramli, 'NBN must be stripped of monopoly power, says ACCC chairman Rod Sims ' (SMH, 17 November 2014)
15 November 2014 - First batch of Harper submissions focus on road tolls and trading hours
The first batch of 128 non-confidential submissions on the Harper Review Draft Report were released yesterday. The vast majority are brief 'have your say' submissions and the majority of those oppose the imposition of road tolls (with most using near-identical wording and pointing to s 92 of the Constitution). The next most popular 'have your say' issue related to retail trading hours, with a significant number of these submissions opposing any extension to retail hours either because it would interfere with family time or because of concerns about the impact on smaller businesses.
There were also several submissions from IGA stores - most adopting very similar (in some cases identical) wording - these typically focus on misuse of market power, access to justice, zoning restrictions and a supermarket code of conduct. There are a handful of more substantial submissions so far - these have typically focussed on misuse of market power (eg, Prof Stephen Corones, Frontier Economics (Dr Philip Williams) and Dr George Raitt). I have provided brief overviews of most submissions here. See also the official Competition Policy Review website to view the submissions in full.
14 November 2014 - First batch of Harper draft report submissions now published
13 November 2014 - The Future of Competition Policy
ACCC Chairman, speaking at the Australian Farm Institute Conference in Melbourne today, has discussed the implications of competition policy for Australian agriculture, including commenting on the 'national champions' argument (expressing the view that promotion of national champions 'takes us in the opposite direction to reform that makes markets work better'), the misuse of market power provision and collective bargaining issues. See speech.
7 November 2014 - Sims on Competition Policy
ACCC Chairman, Rod Sims has addressed the RBB Economics Conference in Sydney backing competition reforms proposed by the Harper Review Panel - three points were highlighted: (1) need to make a choice about s 46 - clearly preferencing a change to an SLC approach; (2) need to extend the Act to cover more government activities; (3) need to debate and decide the issues around competition advocacy and market studies. View press release. View speech. See also John Durie, 'ACCC boss Rod Sims pushes for powers to scrutinise governments' (The Australian, 7 November 2014)
6 November 2014 - Samuel on Telco competition
Former ACCC Chairman, Graeme Samuel, spoke to the Telecommunications Society in Sydney yesterday, focusing on competition in relation to content. Samuel also criticised several reviews into the industry, including the Vertigan and Scales reviews. See David Ramli, 'Ex-ACCC chair says real telco battleground is content' (AFR, 5 November 2014), John Durie, 'Graeme Samuel warns on threat of content control to competition' (The Australian, 5 November 2014), David Ramli, 'Warnings issued over telco content threat' (SMH, 6 November 2014) and Graeme Philipson, 'Graeme Samuel unloads on Scales, defends Telstra and says content is king' (IT Wire, 6 November 2014)
5 November 2014 - Deadline looming for Harper Review submissions
Submissions on the draft report are due by 17 November and the Secretariat has warned that this deadline (unlike that relating to the issues paper) is 'firm', noting that submissions received after this date may not be fully considered, particularly where they suggest significant deviation from the draft report. For more details see the Review's submission page.
5 November 2014 - ACCC issues ACCount for September quarter
4 November 2014 - Commentary on draft RPM authorisation
Several law firms have released commentary on the ACCC's draft RPM authorisation:
- Pam Cue, 'Nailed it ...' (King&Wood Mallesons, In Competition, 28 November 2014)
- Mark McCowan, Alistair Newton and Asa Lam, 'ACCC issue first-ever draft determination proposing to authorise resale price maintenance' (Corrs Chambers Westgarth, 23 October 2014).
- Nick McHugh, Claire Forster, Joanna MacKenzie, 'Authorisation of Resale Price Maintenance in Australia: a long time coming' (November 2014)
Submissions on the draft determination are due by 7 November.
31 October 2014 - ACCC loses air cargo case against Air NZ and Garuda
In a 350+ page judgment, the Federal Court has dismissed proceedings against Air New Zealand and Garuda concerning alleged price fixing in relation to air cargo services; Justice Perram concluded that the conduct alleged did not take place in a 'market in Australia'. See, for example, ACCC, 'Court dismisses air cargo cartel proceedings against Air New Zealand and Garuda Indonesia' (Press Release, 31 October 2014), Steve Creedy, 'Air New Zealand, Garuda beat ACCC cargo collusion case' (The Australian, 31 October 2014) and Michael Roddan, 'Court throws out ACCC's Air NZ case' (Business Spectator, 31 October 2014). For the judgment see: Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v Air New Zealand Limited  FCA 1157
Competition Policy Review (Harper)
New cartel immunity and cooperation policy
ACCC takes on Informed Sources
The ACCC has instituted proceedings against Informed Sources and several petrol retailers alleging contravention of s 45.
Misuse of market power
First Tribunal merger authorisation
TPA celebrates 40 years
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