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Automotive Industry Rejects Anti-Competitive Port Facilities

The peak body representing the Australian automotive industry, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), has called on the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to reject port facilities operator, Australian Amalgamated Terminals (AAT), application to be allowed to continue to engage in anti-competitive arrangements.

"AAT has a monopoly on the import and export of hundreds of thousands of vehicles each year.” FCAI Chief Executive Andrew McKellar said.

“At the Fisherman Islands facility in Brisbane, the company has increased the charge for unloading vehicles by 85 per cent in just two years,” he said.

“Historically, AAT has set non-negotiable charges, terms and conditions and when the FCAI members challenged the increased fees in Brisbane, it threatened to impound vehicles or prevent ships being unloaded,” Mr McKellar said.

“Following recent admissions by related parties in the Federal Court to breaches of the Trade Practices Act surrounding the establishment of AAT, vehicle importers must now consider what legal options may be available to recover any damages arising from these breaches,” he said.

The FCAI has lodged a submission to the ACCC outlining the automotive industry’s concerns and reservations with granting AAT ‘authorisation’ to continue to engage in anti-competitive arrangements and has also made an application under the Queensland Competition Authority Act to have AAT ‘declared’ as a monopoly business at the Port of Brisbane.

“The automotive industry will not support AAT’s application to the ACCC for authorisation because there is no independent price review mechanism, no dispute resolution process or any conditions placed on the further expansion of the business,” Mr McKellar said.

“The automotive industry urges the ACCC not to allow the continuation of anti-competitive arrangements that are detrimental to the automotive industry and Australian new car buyers,” he said.

“It is important to remember that it is new vehicle buyers who ultimately end up paying for these excessive charges,” Mr McKellar said.

For further information contact:
Sheena Ireland, Communications Manager
P: 02 6229 8221
M: 0458 038 555
E: sheena.ireland@fcai.com.au