ACCC seeks comment on revised authorisation guidelines

ACCC_logoThe Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has its Draft Authorisation Guidelines 2013 for public comment and is seeking feedback from business owners on issues surrounding breaches of competition provisions in the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has its Draft Authorisation Guidelines 2013 for public comment and is seeking feedback from business owners on issues surrounding breaches of competition provisions in the Competition and Consumer Act 2010

The authorisation process in the Act is utilised by a range of parties, from primary producers and other small businesses through to large corporations when there is a risk that conduct they intend to engage in may breach the competition provisions of the Act, but they nevertheless consider that they should be able to engage in the conduct because the public benefit will outweigh any public detriment.

While the authorisation provisions and legislative processes in the Act remain the same, the draft is intended to provide up-to-date guidance on the ACCC’s approach based on its recent experience and relevant determinations by the Australian Competition Tribunal.

There is an increased emphasis on the ACCC’s analytical framework for assessing applications and clarification on how the ACCC identifies public benefits and detriments and imposes conditions when it grants authorisation. Authorisation provides statutory protection from court action for conduct that might otherwise raise concerns under the competition provisions of the Act.

“The revised authorisation guidelines are designed to be a reliable, clear and comprehensive guide to explain the authorisation process in the Act and the analytical framework applied by the ACCC in assessing applications, including public benefit and detriment,” ACCC Commissioner Dr Jill Walker said.

“While the authorisation provisions and legislative processes in the Act remain the same, the draft provides updated guidance on the ACCC’s approach based on its recent experience and relevant determinations by the Australian Competition Tribunal.”

The ACCC invites submissions on the Draft Authorisation Guidelines 2013 which are available here. The closing date for submissions is Friday May 31 2013.

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