ACCC launches action over NSW port deals

Port Botany in the background. Photo: Jessica Hromas
Port Botany in the background. Photo: Jessica Hromas

Australia's competition watchdog is launching legal action against the owners of two NSW ports over what it says is an anti-competitive deal with the state government.

The ACCC on Monday confirmed it had instituted proceedings in the Federal Court against NSW Ports - which operates Port Botany and Port Kembla - for making agreements with the NSW government when they were privatised in 2013 that it alleges had an anti-competitive purpose and effect.

The deal contained provisions that would effectively compensate NSW Ports if the Port of Newcastle developed a container terminal.

"We are alleging that making these agreements ... is anti-competitive and illegal," ACCC chair Rod Sims said in a statement.

Despite the state government's involvement, it is "not currently a party to the ACCC's proceedings and the ACCC is not seeking orders against the state".  

Australian Associated Press