Australian Newsagents’ Federation (ANF) allowed to negotiate with selected suppliers

Well, on Friday, the ACCC decided to allow the Australian Newsagents’ Federation (ANF) to negotiate on behalf of its members with a range of suppliers. Overall, the ACCC felt that "newsagents are often small, family-owned and operated businesses" and "allowing collective bargaining would allow newsagents to pool resources and undertake a more co-ordinated approach to negotiating with suppliers, many of whom are large, well-resourced businesses,” The final decision is here.

I found it interesting to go though some of the submissions here just to see what some suppliers thought about it. I was quite pleased that many of them did not oppose it, for example, pay. News limited and Bupa (an electrical Power Company). One newsagent complained claiming that the ANF record was so bad, and that it was not the ANF job to negotiate. Well even accepting this is true they can rest assure that they do not have to take any offers from the ANF as a result of this decision now. Only two suppliers newsxpess who I am not sure why they put in a submission as the ANF had already stated that it would delete them from the list of suppliers they wish to have rights to negotiate with and Tower systems publicly opposed the submission. Still they did make I thought an interesting point in their submission that the

"The ANF engages directly and indirectly in commercial activities...their commercial activities place the ANF in conflict with the activities one would expect of an industry association for it is the one body engaging in commercial activities and representing some newsagents."

Unfortunately, he did not list any examples and the ANF denied his claim. I could list some examples in the past like Surefire, but I am not sure now if that is true. However, there is certainly room for concern here for many suppliers as the ANF clearly may have more than one hat in a negotiation with a supplier.

There was also I thought a rather a dubious supplier SCCA (the Shopping Centre Council of Australia) who is not a supplier for newsagents but a collective body representing many newsagents' landlords (several of who did not oppose the ANF submission). I confess I did not think much of the SCCA submission, if they have no problem with the ANF aiding individual newsagents why not allow the ANF to act for several at one time? My other question is if they can act here on behalf of their members, why cannot the ANF do so similarly?

Anyway it will be interesting to see what the ANF does with their new power.