Competition

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Domestic airfares generally fell last year after reaching record highs in late-2022, but cancellations and delays remain higher than long-term industry averages, the ACCC’s latest Domestic Airline Competition in Australia report reveals.

The report shows that average revenue per passenger, which represents average prices across all fare types, was 13.4 per cent lower in December 2023 than in December 2022, in real (inflation-adjusted) terms.

Read More Airfares Cheaper But Cancellations and Delays Increased in 2023

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[T]he research commissioned by the Competition Review Taskforce now provides clear evidence in support of merger reform, strengthening the ACCC’s confidence in its recommendations.

The research demonstrates that an estimated 1000-1500 mergers occur in Australia each year. Only  about 330 are notified to the ACCC under the existing voluntary merger regime.

About half of the 1000-1500 mergers are made by the largest one per cent of businesses.

Read More ACCC: Urgent Need for Merger Law Reform

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The Consumers Federation of Australia (CFA) and CHOICE have provided a submission to the newly newly established Competition Taskforce on merger approvals.  Australia has many markets that are highly concentrated; supermarkets, airlines, banking, telecommunications, energy and insurance are all markets where a few dominant companies provide most Australians with essential products and services. Increasingly, we…

Read More CFA Supports Reforms to Merger Approvals

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The Albanese Government has announced its intent to have the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) conduct a year-long inquiry into supermarket prices as allegations of price gouging, a lack of competition in the sector and the cost of living crisis continue. According to a joint press release by the Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese MP,…

Read More Government Announces ACCC Inquiry into Supermarket Prices

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“We shouldn’t have a process that is prey to legal brinkmanship, with all the uncertainty and expense that entails,” Ms Cass-Gottlieb said.

“Consumers, small businesses and farmers will benefit from the ACCC reforms, which will include high levels of transparency and provide certainty. But we also believe that companies and other businesses concerned about their suppliers, customers or rivals merging will also benefit.”

Read More Merger Reform Key to Competition and Quality

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The Senate has established a Select Committee on Supermarket Prices, to inquire into and report on the price setting practices and market power of major supermarkets.

The committee is seeking submissions that address the terms of reference by Friday, 2 February 2024 and the committee’s final report is due by 7 May 2024.

Read More Submissions Open for Senate Inquiry into Supermarket Prices

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Following the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) September 2022 Digital Platform Services Inquiry report, and the Albanese Government’s commitment in November to mandatory industry codes regarding scams (consultation closes 29/01/2024) has now announced an in-principle agreement to desperately needed new consumer and competition laws regarding digital platforms. Currently, the government is requesting that industry…

Read More Government Responds to ACCC’s Digital Platform Recommendations

“While we found that Coles may have an incentive to consolidate some of its milk volumes in the eastern states, this was unlikely to lead to a substantial lessening of competition,” Mr Keogh said.

“Coles will likely continue to face financial incentives to stock and support branded milk from other processors, due to the higher retail margins it earns on these products.”

In addition, the ACCC found that Coles’ commercial incentives to consolidate its milk supply would exist with or without the transaction due to the significant excess capacity at the Laverton and Erskine Park facilities.

Read More “[U]nlikely to result in a substantial lessening of competition”, ACCC Okays Coles Milk Plant Acquisitions

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The total penalties, ordered by the Federal Court, are the highest imposed for resale price maintenance in Australia. Resale price maintenance (also known as RPM) occurs when a supplier of goods specifies a minimum price below which a reseller must not supply, offer to supply, advertise, or display those goods for sale.

“The ACCC submitted to the Court that this level of penalty was appropriate given the seriousness, duration and extent of Techtronic’s conduct. It sends a strong signal to deter others from engaging in RPM, and should serve as a warning for all other businesses,” ACCC Deputy Chair Mick Keogh said.

Read More ACCC Applies Record Penalty for “seriousness, duration and extent” of Techtronic’s Retail Price Maintenance

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“The proposed coordination will increase AEMO’s ability to manage the scheduling of outages, providing greater security for the supply of electricity over the next two summer periods, which are forecast to be challenging,” ACCC Deputy Chair Mick Keogh said.

Due to concerns that this kind of coordination and information sharing between competitors can reduce competition in the supply of electricity and the acquisition of maintenance services as well as create information disparities within the broader electricity market, the ACCC has imposed a series of conditions for this authorisation.

Read More Coordination Within Electricity Industry Authorised

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The Proposed Conduct relates to the cooperation between Virgin Australia and Air NZ on trans-Tasman services (on routes that Virgin Australia does not operate), including the ability for Virgin Australia to codeshare on Air NZ operated services which contain pricing provisions that may otherwise trigger the prohibition against resale price maintenance. Cooperation on commercial arrangements between Virgin Australia and Air NZ in relation to frequent flyer programs, lounge access, and joint corporate customer offers are conditional upon these codeshare arrangements.

Closing date for submissions on interim authorisation is 18 December 2023.

Read More Consultation on Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand Trans-Tasman Services

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Digital platforms with significant market power can use practices like bundling or tying of products, pre-installation and default settings to limit customer choice or deter innovation from competitors.
“Australians increasingly use digital platforms for work, study and play and can benefit from their wide range of interconnected products and services. While the size and scale of digital platforms alone does not raise concern, there is a risk that this expansion may be driven by a desire from digital platforms to entrench or extend their market power,” Ms Cass-Gottlieb said.

Read More Expansion of Digital Platforms Demonstrates “critical need for regulatory reform”