The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has issued a warning against public sector contractors who “collude” during procurement procedures.
The competition watchdog has issued advice to government agencies to be wary of illegal cartel activity between bidders for public tenders.
Cartel conduct occurs when businesses agree to act together instead of competing in an effort to drive up colluders’ profits. This can involve price fixing, bid rigging, market sharing and controlling the amount of goods or services available, all of which are in breach of the Competition and Consumer Act.
According to the ACCC, there were 81,174 contracts for the federal government published on AusTender with a combined value of $53.9 billion between 2019 and 2020.
However, the ACCC claimed that some public servants and businesses “may not be sufficiently aware of the risk of breaching cartel laws during the procurement process”.
“The ACCC encourages public sector procurement professionals to proactively review their procurement processes and identify and remedy any potentially anti-competitive elements in any procurement procedures, policies or guidelines,” the watchdog said.
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