Recent editions of the Competition and Market Regulation Update (March 20091 and May 20092) have followed the progress of the Trade Practices Amendment (Cartel Conduct and Other Measures) Bill 2008 through Parliament. As discussed in those editions, the Bill amends the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) (TPA) to criminalise cartel behaviour. Maximum penalties for individuals found to contravene the cartel provisions include 10 years imprisonment or a fine of A$220,000.
An earlier version of the Bill had been passed by the House of Representatives in February this year. As discussed in the May 20093 edition, amendments to the Bill were proposed in the Senate which extended the application of the joint venture defence to the cartel offences.
The Bill was passed by the Senate with these amendments on 15 June 2009. The Bill and its amendments were then considered and agreed to by the House of Representatives the following day. The Bill received Royal Assent on Friday 26 June 2009 and the majority of the provisions become law on 24 July 2009.