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ACCC given port pricing regulation power

A Federal Court ruling has given the Australian Competition and Consumer Competition (ACCC) power to monitor and regulate pricing at the Port of Newcastle.
Road Freight NSW (RFNSW) General Manager Simon O’Hara said RFNSW was carefully analysing the ruling but described it as a “precedent case of intervention for the regulator.”
“It certainly sends a very strong message to industry about price gouging and that price increases need to be on the basis of an actual increase in costs,” O’Hara said.
RFNSW has thus called for the ACCC to act on new stevedore taxes imposed on truck operators.
“We believe there’s a lesson to be learnt here for stevedores, given that they have burdened our members with unreasonable increases in charges for accessing their terminals at Port Botany.
“They’re on notice.
“In light of the Federal Court’s ruling, RFNSW is again calling on the ACCC to act, for the sake of our members and other users of port infrastructure.”
The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) has reminded the ACCC to ensure it is sufficiently resourced and has personnel possessing experience in the operation and/or regulation of logistics infrastructure.
“There are many specialist and complex issues at work with the operation of supply chains and logistics infrastructure,” said Michael Kilgariff, Managing Director, ALC.
“[The] Federal Court decision seems to point to increasing ACCC involvement in pricing and access issues at ports.
“If that is going to be the case, then it is imperative that the ACCC ensures it is properly resourced with personnel who have had exposure to and experience in dealing with the complex and unique nature of these infrastructure assets,” he said.
“Any regulatory role played by the ACCC in the freight logistics sector must be fit for purpose.”

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