By Andrew Starke

State divisions of the Australian Hotels Association (AHA) will be allowed to collectively bargain with a range of suppliers following a ruling by the competition watchdog.

Late last year the AHA applied to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) for permission to extend its scope in collectively bargaining with suppliers on behalf of its members.

The suppliers include Tabcorp, UniTab, Sky Channel, Fox Sports, Austar, the Australasian Performing Right Association, Aristocrat Technologies, Wotif and Expedia.

Acting ACCC chairman Michael Schaper said that the collective bargaining arrangements are likely to result in benefits to the public by improving the input of hoteliers into their contractual arrangements with suppliers.

“The arrangements may also deliver transaction cost savings and enhancements in the supply of goods and services by hotels,” he said.

The regulator said it had consulted widely on the proposed arrangements and the AHA had amended their collective bargaining proposal following the draft determination issued by the ACCC in March this year.

For its part, the AHA has contended that its application was not designed to radically change how business with suppliers is done but rather to ensure that it was not constrained by the Trade Practices Act when entering into discussions with suppliers.

The ACCC has authorised a number of similar collective bargaining arrangements involving the hotel industry, dating back to 2003.

The AHA’s previous authorisation expired at the end of April and the current arrangement will run until June 30, 2016.


The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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