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Australians will pay more for groceries and other products and the nation's takeovers regime needs to be reconsidered, competition tsar Rod Sims has warned, after a "stunning" Federal Court decision over a vital transport terminal sale.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) tried to block the sale of Auirzon's Acacia Ridge intermodal terminal near Brisbane to fellow freight operator Pacific National, arguing it would give Pacific National an effective monopoly on rail freight into north Queensland.
The federal court has waved through the terminal sale.CREDIT:ROBERT ROUGH
The terminal is a vital part of Australia’s transport infrastructure as it is where rail freight can be transferred between NSW's standard rail gauge and Queensland's narrow gauge network, or moved off or onto trucks.
But Justice Jonathan Beach on Wednesday said the ACCC failed to convince him that the proposed deal breached competition law.
Justice Beach said he would have found in favour of the ACCC if it was not for undertakings Pacific National presented to court on the last day of the trial guaranteeing other operators access to the terminal and fair prices.
However the ACCC's Mr Sims said those undertakings - presented to him in 2017 - were “virtually unenforceable”, and would not stop the company using its control of the terminal to frustrate other competitors and discourage them from entering the market.
This article first appeared on www.smh.com.au
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