In addition to criminalising cartel behaviour, the Commerce (Cartels and Other Matters) Amendment Bill introduced at the end of 2011 proposes a new exemption for 'collaborative activity' which replaces the existing joint venture exemption in section 31 of the Commerce Act. The new exemption is intended to capture all pro-competitive arrangements, regardless of their form and is expected to provide a number of advantages over the current law, including providing greater certainty for businesses. For Bell Gully's commentary on this new exemption see our earlier article: The new JV exemption – the forgotten child.

The Bill is still awaiting its first reading. An opportunity to provide further submissions on the Bill will be available once it has been referred to the Commerce Select Committee.

For further information on the Bill see the article "Bill introduced to deter hard-core cartel behaviour" in Issue No.13 of Corporate Reporter.