ACCC: No Interim Authorisation for Brisbane Cruise Terminal

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has decided not to grant interim authorisation to Port of Brisbane and Carnival for their proposed licence agreement relating to a proposed new cruise ship terminal.

Under the proposed agreement, Carnival would commit to purchase a minimum level of capacity to underwrite the construction of the new terminal by Port of Brisbane. In exchange, Carnival would receive certain priority berthing rights at the terminal.

The agreement cannot take effect until the construction of the terminal is completed in 2020. However, Port of Brisbane and Carnival requested urgent interim authorisation because they considered it would provide them with some level of comfort prior to construction commencing this month.

The decision not to grant interim authorisation “was based on there being no conduct to which the interim authorisation would apply. It does not involve any assessment of the merits of the application for final authorisation,” Roger Featherston, ACCC Commissioner, said.

Featherston added that the ACCC view is that Port of Brisbane and Carnival do not require interim authorisation to commence construction of the port.

“The arrangements for which authorisation is sought cannot commence until 2020, by which time the ACCC will have made a final decision on whether to grant authorisation to the agreement. As there is no proposal to engage in the conduct for which interim authorisation is sought, it is not appropriate to grant interim authorisation.”

Furthermore, Featherston said that this decision does not provide any indication of whether or not a final authorisation will be granted.

Port of Brisbane and Carnival lodged their application for authorisation on October 11, 2017. The ACCC has started consultation on this proposal and will make a determination on the authorisation in the first half of 2018, with a draft determination expected in January.

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