In the media – National

ACCC will not oppose proposals for Port of Melbourne lease
The ACCC conducted extensive inquiries with a large number of port users and stakeholders at various levels of the supply chain. The ACCC has formed the view that neither acquisition would result in a substantial lessening of competition (11 August 2016).  More...

King & Wood, Mallesons: You win some, you lose some
In proceedings brought by the ACCC, the Federal Court recently found that Italian cable giant Prysmian Cavi, engaged in cartel conduct in relation to the supply of high voltage land and submarine cables in Australia and dismissed proceedings against French cable company, Nexans SA. The Federal Court’s decision is the latest development in the ACCC’s high voltage cable litigation, which generated 14 judgments on topics as diverse as privilege, discovery, strike-out applications, the ‘French Blocking Statute’ and interrogatories (11 August 2016).  More...

Apple says Australia's banks pose a security threat to iPhones
Apple has launched a blistering attack on three of Australia's big banks, saying their request to collectively negotiate over digital wallet access to the iPhone will compromise the handset's security, reduce innovation and blunt Apple's entry into the payments market in Australia (10 August 2016).  See ACCC authorisation register, including Apples submissions and submissions by other interested parties.  More...

ACCC warns businesses time is running out to review their standard form contracts for unfair contract terms
The new law, which aims to protect small businesses from unfair terms in business-to-business standard form contracts, will apply from 12 November. Currently, many small businesses entering into contracts with larger businesses have no option but to accept all the terms of the standard form contract that they are given. Under this new law, the courts will be able to strike out any unfair contract terms (10 August 2016).  More...

PM announces Banks to be Questioned by Parliamentary Committee
The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics will be asked by the Treasurer to examine and report to Parliament on the banking and financial system, with banks called separately to appear and ‘explain how they are responding to funding issues to support Australian consumers and businesses (08 August 2016).  More...

Privatisation needs smarter regulation
ACCC Chairman Rod Sims says he looks forward to a continuing debate on the regulation of monopolies and privatisation today as part of a panel session at the annual ACCC/AER Regulatory Conference in Brisbane. The panel session will consider the appropriate regulatory framework for monopoly infrastructure, including when it is privatised (04 August 2016).  More...

Rod Sims wrong to go cold on privatisations
Infrastructure Australia board member, Kerry Schott, has argued that ACCC Chairman, Rod Sims, rather than criticising privatisations, should be selling their economic benefits.  More...

ACCC Chairman reports on key court actions, mergers and market studies
With Australia’s first criminal cartel charges now before the court, Mr Sims said the ACCC wants to lay strong foundations for a continuing program of cases. In the broader area of competition and consumer law, Mr Sims said there are many important cases and appeals before the courts (05 August 2016).  More...

ANZ lacked 'capacity' to meddle with BBSW
In its defence to allegations that it rigged the key market interest rate, ANZ said it had "no capacity" to distort the bank bill swap rate (BBSW), which was determined by a "dynamic market process" (03 August 2016).  More...

Misleading consumers is everybody's business
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is reminding property developers, business owners and real estate agents of the need to pay close attention to the accuracy of their advertising after issuing a $10,800 fine to Stockland North Lakes Pty Ltd, part of Stockland Corporation Limited (04 August 2016).  More...

ACCC to undertake market study of the communications sector
The ACCC Chairman Rod Sims announced at the ACCC/AER Regulatory Conference dinner that the ACCC’s next market study will focus on the Australian communications sector. The market study will examine a wide range of issues concerning competition and efficiency in communications markets (04 August 2016).  More...

ACCC invites feedback on Seven West Media’s proposed acquisition of The Sunday Times and Perthnow
The ACCC has released a Statement of Issues on the proposed acquisition of The Sunday Times and perthnow.com.au from News Corporation by West Australian Newspapers. A number of interested parties have expressed concern about the reduction in competition and the impact this would have on quality and diversity of content. A number of advertisers have also raised concern about the loss of competition for advertising opportunities in the print newspapers (04 August 2016).  More...

Ex-ACCI chief slams monopolists and exploiters
Former top business lobbyist Peter Anderson says business has itself to blame for the lack of progress in market-opening reforms and private firms that exploit monopolies and workers do the cause of reform no favours (04 August 2016).  More...

State Inspection Program 2016-17
Consumer Affairs Victoria will inspect more than 5,600 Victorian businesses this financial year, as part of a state-wide inspection program. A wide range of Victorian businesses will be checked for compliance with laws; protection of consumers by removing unsafe products from sale and investigation of breaches of our laws (03 August 2016).  More...

How to assess the superannuation system's performance
The Productivity Commission has released its proposed framework to assess the efficiency and competitiveness of Australia's $2 trillion superannuation system. The final report is expected to be handed to the Australian Government in November 2016 and published by the Commission a short time later (02 August 2016).  More...

High Court transcript in Flight Centre
The High Court transcript in the Flight Centre appeal on whether appellant travel agent attempted to induce specific airlines to make a contract, arrangement or arrive at an understanding which had the purpose or effect of substantially lessening competition in a market (heard last Wednesday) is now available (AustLII or JADE). See also the High Court case page (01 August 2016).

In practice and courts, published reports

ACCC SOI on Seven West Media’s proposed acquisition of The Sunday Times and Perthnow
The ACCC has released a Statement of Issues on the proposed acquisition of The Sunday Times and perthnow.com.au from News Corporation by West Australian Newspapers (WAN). The ACCC invites further submissions from industry participants in response to the Statement of Issues by 18 August 2016. The ACCC expects to announce its final decision on 15 September 2016 (04 August 2016). More...

Productivity Commission: Regulation of Agriculture
The inquiry will focus on regulation with a material impact on domestic and international competitiveness of farm businesses and the productivity of Australian agriculture. Written submissions close on 18 August 2016. The final report is expected to be handed to the Australian Government by 15 November 2016.  More...

ACCC: New law on unfair contract terms to provide protections for farmers and agriculture businesses
From 12 November 2016 a new law comes into place that will protect farmers and small businesses from unfair contract terms. If a farmer is concerned about the terms of a contract they have received, they should visit the ACCC website or contact the ACCC’s Agriculture Unit for information about the law.  More...

How to Assess the Competitiveness and Efficiency of the Superannuation System: Draft report
The sheer size of the superannuation system, combined with its compulsory and broad nature, makes the efficiency of the system paramount. This draft report was released on 2 August 2016. Submissions are due by 09 September 2016.  More...

Cases

Australian Olympic Committee, Inc. v Telstra Corporation Limited [2016] FCA 857
CONSUMER LAW – misleading and deceptive conduct – where print, electronic and television advertisements and promotional material used to promote a mobile phone application prior to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games – where advertisements used to promote partnership with Olympic sponsor – where advertiser is not an Olympic sponsor – whether advertisements and promotional material would mislead or deceive consumers into believing a sponsorship or sponsorship-like relationship existed.
STATUTES – Olympic Insignia Protection Act 1987 (Cth), s 36 – whether conduct breached s 36 – use of protected Olympic properties in advertisements and promotional material – whether use of Olympic properties would indicate the existence of sponsorship or sponsorship-like relationship to a “reasonable” person. 

Transcript: Australian Competition & Consumer Commission v. Flight Centre Travel Group Limited
Competition – whether appellant travel agent attempted to induce specific airlines to make a contract, arrangement or arrive at an understanding which had the purpose or effect of substantially lessening competition in a market – consideration of relevant market – characterisation of relevant services supplied by airlines and travel agents – whether airlines and travel agents competed in a market for booking and distribution services, or whether the only relevant market was the market for international passenger air travel services – whether travel agents competed with airlines in that market given they were the agent of the airlines when supplying such services – application of ss 45 and 45A of the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth).  

 

Contact:

Melbourne
Howard Rapke, Managing Partner, Melbourne
T: +61 3 9321 9752

Sydney
Ian Robertson, National Managing Partner
T: +61 2 8083 0401
E: ian.robertson@holdingredlich.com

Brisbane
Paul Venus, Managing Partner, Brisbane
T: +71 7 3135 0613
E: paul.venus@holdingredlich.com

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The information in this publication is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, we do not guarantee that the information in this publication is accurate at the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. We are not responsible for the information of any source to which a link is provided or reference is made and exclude all liability in connection with use of these sources.

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