Flight Centre ruling shows need for higher penalties - Media Release

ANDREW LEIGH MP, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER

TIM HAMMOND MP, SHADOW MINISTER FOR CONSUMER AFFAIRS

FLIGHT CENTRE RULING SHOWS NEED FOR HIGHER PENALTIES

Federal Labor has welcomed the decision by the Full Federal Court to order Flight Centre to pay $12.5 million in penalties for attempting to enter into price fixing arrangements with airlines between 2005-2009, but has called on the Turnbull Government to increase maximum penalties for anti-competitive conduct.

The court found that Flight Centre asked a number of airlines not to publish ticket prices on their website that were less than Flight Centre’s prices.

Anti-competitive conduct such as price fixing harms consumers by forcing them to pay a higher than market price for goods and services.

The $12.5 million penalty comes after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) appealed a 2014 Federal Court decision ordering penalties of $11 million, stating that it provided an insufficient deterrent for anti-competitive conduct.

Labor has consistently advocated for increased maximum penalties for breaches of competition law – in line with comments from ACCC Chairman Rod Sims, who last month voiced concerns that penalties imposed in Australia for anti-competitive conduct are “significantly lower” than the penalties imposed in other OECD jurisdictions - and for the consumer watchdog to allocate a portion of penalties towards its litigation budget.

ENDS

Authorised by Noah Carroll, ALP, Canberra

 


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