Friday, 26 November 2010
Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer Safeguards) Bill 2010
Can I apologise for being a little slow, Senator Ludlam. The government, as you have foreshadowed, is opposing this amendment. There are legitimate commercial reasons for the parties to keep confidential the fact that they have entered into access agreements, and this amendment may discourage the industry from using access agreements. For example, a provider may be willing to negotiate inferior commercial terms on one aspect of access in exchange for better terms on another aspect. Disclosure of this information would be likely to reveal critical information about the provider’s future retail strategy.
All access agreements must be lodged in full with the ACCC, which will be able to take action under part 11B if any access arrangements reveal the presence of anti-competitive behaviour. It is highly likely that parties to the majority of access agreements will claim confidentiality. This would create a high administrative burden for the ACCC, which would ultimately impact on the industry through the cost recovery process. A publication requirement will inhibit development of new services to meet the needs of niche markets.