ATA uses Frank Black ACCC run-in to echo competition law

By: Rob McKay

ACCC warning to Frank Black seen as lesson to all on watchdog’s sensitivities

ATA uses Frank Black ACCC run-in to echo competition law
Ben Maguire


The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) is to use owner-driver representative Frank Black’s run-in with the nation’s competition watchdog to reinforce to its stakeholders the sensitive nature of comments and actions related to competition law.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has written to Black expressing it concern over opinion-column comments he made in ATN’s sister publication, Owner Driver.

Black had argued for solidarity on rates during the Covid-19 pandemic, which the ACCC argues could be construed as advocating for price-fixing.

The Transport Workers Union (TWU), which is estranged from the ATA and supports Black, responded with a strongly worded letter of objection and calling for an apology.

But the ATA is keen to distance itself from Black’s comments and offers little sympathy for his position.

Read how the ACCC wrote to Black and the TWU’s response, here

"Although he is an elected member of the ATA Council, Frank Black was not speaking on the ATA’s behalf when he suggested in his column that owner drivers should fix prices," ATA CEO Ben Maguire tells ATN.

"The ATA did not see or approve the column before it was published. We do not endorse it.

"The ATA takes compliance with the competition laws very seriously.

"We operate in accordance with the Competition and Consumer Act and the ACCC guidelines for industry associations.

"ATA chair David Smith will be writing to all ATA councillors and committee members with a refresh of their obligations under the competition laws and to provide links to guidance material.

"Instead of arguing for price fixing, Frank Black should have dialled in to our council meetings in April and May and put forward constructive ideas on behalf of the owner drivers he was elected to represent."


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