In the media

ACCC steers toward effective port regulation
At the Ports Australia Conference in Melbourne, ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said the current preference of governments to implement price monitoring regimes fails to ensure there is an effective constraint on monopoly pricing at Australian ports (20 October 2016).  More...

Banks accused of gouging super customers
Banks are being accused of gouging customers by delaying the transfer of superannuation accounts into lower cost default superannuation funds (20 October 2016).  More...

Ausgrid deal may break NSW guidelines on unsolicited bids
A deal giving two superannuation funds an inside track to buy NSW's $10 billion Ausgrid electricity network appears to breach the state government's own guidelines. The NSW guidelines say that the unusual unsolicited bid process was designed for the development and delivery of new infrastructure and services" and is "not a substitute for routine competitive procurement (19 October 2016).  More...

CBH undertaking ensures increased opportunities for grain growers and marketers to use alternative grain transport services
The ACCC has accepted a court enforceable undertaking from Co-operative Bulk Handling Limited (CBH).  The ACCC considers that CBH’s conduct had the effect, or likely effect, of substantially lessening competition in the West Australian grain transport services market, in contravention of section 47 of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (18 October 2016).  More...

Murrumbidgee Irrigation in breach of the Water Charge Rules
The ACCC accepted an administrative resolution from Murrumbidgee Irrigation after it admitted to a breach of the Water Charge Infrastructure Rules (WCIR). Murrumbidgee Irrigation failed to include certain water service charges in its ‘Schedule of Charges’ between 2011 and 30 June 2016. Price transparency is an important tool that helps improve the efficient functioning of water markets (13 October 2016).  More...

ACCC releases SOI on proposed acquisition of Pillar by Link
The ACCC is concerned that the possible acquisition is likely to substantially lessen competition in the supply of superannuation administration services by entrenching Link’s dominant position, resulting in lower service levels or higher prices, which will ultimately be passed on to fund members (13 October 2016).  More...

Caltex confirms interest in Woolworths service stations
Caltex Australia confirms a bid to buy Woolworths' fuel business, a move which would give it almost 40 per cent of the fuel retail market (14 October 2016).  More... 

Producers 'greenwashing' food to claim organic label
Consumer group Choice calls for harsher penalties for companies caught claiming their products are organic even though they fail to meet industry standards (13 October 2016).  More...

One life insurer denied 37pc of disability claims, but ASIC won't say which one
The corporate regulator announces a major crackdown on the life insurance sector after identifying "significant shortcomings" in the way claims are handled. While the review found no evidence of "cross industry misconduct" or systemic issues, it will ring alarm bells for a sector already under siege given recent scandals (12 October 2016).  More...

ACCC advises franchising industry to consider its agreements ahead of new unfair contracts law
The ACCC is warning franchisors about potentially unfair contract terms under a new law offering greater protections to small businesses from 12 November 2016. Of particular concern are terms that give the franchisor unconstrained power to unilaterally vary agreements or operations manuals, broad restraint of trade clauses, excessive liquidated damages, and unreasonable termination clauses (10 October 2016).  More...

ACCC finalises investigation into GlaxoSmithKline’s pricing claims
The ACCC investigated concerns that GSK had made statements that linked a price increase of Panadol Osteo to the delisting of the product from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.  The ACCC investigated whether these statements were false, misleading or deceptive and found the evidence available is unlikely to establish a contravention of the Australian Consumer Law (10 October 2016).  More...

In practice and courts, published reports

Consultation time extended for some aspects of Exposure Draft Bill
Treasury has extended the deadline for submissions on all aspects of the Exposure Draft bill, other than those relating to misuse of market power. The extended deadline for other aspects of the bill is 28 October 2016.  More...

ACCC: issues paper for communications sector market study
The paper calls for comment on a range of matters that may affect competition, the efficient operation of markets, and investment incentives over the next five years and beyond. Submissions are invited until 14 October 2016. The issues paper and further information on the market study is available at: Communications sector market studyMore...

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...

Cases

Upton v Martin & Stein Antiques Pty Ltd [2016] NSWCATAP 228
APPEAL – sale of goods –misleading and deceptive conduct - inferior quality latent - time bar for jurisdiction of the Tribunal under s 79L of the Fair Trading Act 1987 (NSW) – whether all causes of action first accrued at time of purchase – when discoverable with reasonable diligence – whether loss suffered -- separate assessment of loss – no appeal from original decision - amendment of notice of appeal in the interests of justice, convenience and expense and for real issues to be determined.  

Guerrieri v Boyd Ryan Pty Ltd (Civil Claims) [2016] VCAT 1612
Claim by purchaser for refund of deposit from estate agent for purchase of a small business on the basis of misleading and deceptive conduct dismissed – section 18 of the Australian Consumer Law – application of section 52 of the Estate Agents Act.  

 

Contacts:

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

Disclaimer

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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