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Part 5: Appendices (continued)

Australian Competition Tribunal

The tribunal is an agency within the Treasury portfolio. As it does not publish an annual report; its section 8 statement follows.

Establishment

The tribunal was established under the Trade Practices Act 1965 and continues under the Trade Practices Act 1974 .

Organisation

The tribunal consists of a president and as many deputy presidents and other members as the GovernorGeneral appoints. All presidential members must be judges of the Federal Court of Australia. Other members must have knowledge of, or experience in, industry, commerce, economics, law or public administration. For the purposes of hearing and determining proceedings, the tribunal is constituted by a presidential member and two nonpresidential members.

The Federal Court of Australia manages the tribunal’s funds and provides registry services and administrative support. The registry receives documents, arranges tribunal sittings and undertakes general administration.

Functions and powers

The tribunal is mainly a review body that rehears or reconsiders matters. It may perform all the functions and exercise all the powers of the original decisionmaker to affirm, set aside or vary the original decision.

The tribunal hears applications for review of determinations of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), granting or revoking authorisations that permit conduct and arrangements that otherwise would be prohibited under the Trade Practices Act because of their anticompetitive effect. The tribunal also hears applications for authorisation of company mergers and acquisitions which would otherwise be prohibited under the Trade Practices Act.

In addition, the tribunal hears applications to review certain decisions on access matters under the Trade Practices Act’s regime to facilitate third party access to the services of certain essential facilities of national significance. The tribunal also hears applications for review of the ACCC’s exclusive dealing determinations and certain decisions under the Trade Practices Act’s regime for nonconference ocean carriers.

Arrangements for outside participation

Tribunal review proceedings, except under special circumstances, are public.

When a new review application is made to the tribunal, the tribunal ascertains who made submissions to, or registered their interest with the ACCC or the National Competition Council on the decision. The tribunal directs the applicant to serve the application on each interested party. At the same time, these parties are advised when the application will first come before the tribunal, and whether they have leave to intervene in the proceedings.

The tribunal may permit a person to intervene in the proceedings before it. Participants may appear on their own behalf or represent a firm or association, subject to the tribunal’s approval, or, be represented by a barrister or solicitor.

Categories of documents the tribunal holds

The tribunal maintains the following categories of documents:

  • documents lodged with the registrar on particular proceedings, including applications, notices of appearance, statements of facts and contentions, and witness statements;
  • correspondence concerning particular tribunal proceedings;
  • tribunal decisions and reasoning;
  • reports on tribunal inquiries into shipping matters;
  • register of applications made to the tribunal;
  • documents concerning administrative and financial aspects of the tribunal’s operations; and
  • general correspondence.

The public may inspect the following categories of documents free of charge:

  • documents lodged with the registrar on particular proceedings (except where the Act or the tribunal restricts public access due to confidentiality);
  • tribunal decisions and reasoning;
  • reports on tribunal inquiries into shipping matters; and
  • register of applications made to the tribunal.

The public can obtain copies of the above four categories of documents after paying the fees set out in the Trade Practices Regulations.

Facilities for access to documents

Facilities are provided to access documents from 9.00 am to 4.00 pm, Monday to Friday (except on public and public service holidays).

If an applicant does not live in Sydney, alternative arrangements could reduce the inconvenience to the applicant.

Freedom of information applications and initial contact points

General inquiries relating to freedom of information should be directed to:

Registrar
Australian Competition Tribunal
Level 16
Law Courts Building
Queens Square
SYDNEY NSW 2000
Telephone: 02 9230 8567
Facsimile: 02 9230 8535
DX: 613 — Sydney

The Registrar of the Tribunal, as principal officer, can deny access to a document under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 .

Freedom of information activity

The tribunal did not receive any requests for access to documents under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 in 2009-10.