ACCC informal review a sound first step

Issued Thursday, Oct 15, 2015

Western Australia’s peak agricultural advocacy group, WAFarmers, has welcomed the statement of issues released this morning by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) following its informal review into the proposed takeover of Asciano Limited by Brookfield Infrastructure.

WAFarmers President Dale Park said it is encouraging to see many of the comments made in the WAFarmers’ submissions taken into consideration.

“We are opposed to the vertical integration of Australia’s freight rail and ports operations on the grounds that it will substantially lessen competition in the market,” Mr. Park said.

“The ACCC’s preliminary findings raise similar concerns and outline their significant reservations about the proposed takeover,” Mr. Park said.

WAFarmers Grains Council President Duncan Young said the statement of issues also highlights current failings in the Western Australian rail operating environment.

“The ACCC statement of issues is a promising first step towards addressing our concerns with the proposed takeover and Brookfield Infrastructure’s behavior more generally,” Mr. Young said.

The following issues were raised in both the ACCC statement and WAFarmers’ submissions:  

  • Brookfield Rail is privy to a wide range of commercially sensitive information from above rail users which could be passed to Pacific National for its benefit (Item 104 – 109).
  • The lack of alternatives to rail transport when compared on a cost and efficiency basis (Item 77 – 86).
  • Offering differential pricing to competitors of Pacific National (Item 93 – 103).
  • The adequacy of the WA Access Regime to prevent a substantial lessening of competition arising from the proposed acquisition (Item 126 – 127).

WAFarmers awaits the final announcement from the ACCC which is expected on 17 December 2015 and is hopeful that scrutiny of the proposed takeover remains systematic and transparent.

Ends.

All media requests must be directed to WAFarmers Media and Communications Officer Sophie Kilby on (08) 9486 2100 or sophiekilby@wafarmers.org.au.