ACCC gives councils green light on collective tendering

Friday, 01 July, 2005

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has allowed a group of Sydney councils to collectively tender and contract for the provision of waste manage-ment services.

Botany, Canterbury, Hurstville, Kogarah, Marrickville, Randwick, Rockdale, Sutherland, Waverley and Woollahra Councils had sought authorisation from the ACCC to collectively tender for contractors to receive and dispose of residual waste.

Under the Trade Practices Act 1974, certain forms of anti-competitive agreements are prohibited. The ACCC can grant imm-unity from court action under the Act in cases where it is satisfied that the public benefit flowing from the conduct outweighs any public detriment.

In this case the ACCC saw benefits in allowing the councils to collectively tender with waste service providers, with ACCC chairman Gordon Samuels, commenting: "The ACCC considers that any anti-competitive detriment that may flow from the proposed arrangements is likely to be minimal."

He said the ACCC considered that a co-ordinated approach to the council's waste management services would result in service efficiencies that would be reflected in a lower domestic waste management charge to ratepayers.

"In addition, competition for the relevant services in the southern Sydney region is currently limited and it is anticipated that the arrangements may provide an incentive for new providers to compete to supply these services to the participating councils," he added.

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