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Regional Newspapers Result of Misuse of Market

Regional Newspapers Result of Misuse of Market Power

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has filed proceedings in the Federal Court, Adelaide, against Rural Press Limited, its subsidiary Bridge Printing Office Pty Ltd, its employees Mr Ian Law and Mr Trevor McAuliffe, Waikerie Printing House Pty Limited and its directors, Mr Paul Taylor and Mr Darnley Taylor.

Rural Press, through its subsidiary, publishes The Murray Valley Standard in the Murray Bridge district of South Australia. Waikerie Printing House publishes The River News in the adjoining Waikerie district of the Riverland.
In mid 1997 Waikerie Printing House extended the coverage of its newspaper to include the Mannum area, which had previously only been covered by The Murray Valley Standard.

The ACCC alleges that Rural Press threatened Waikerie Printing House that it would introduce an opposition newspaper into the Riverland unless Waikerie Printing House withdrew The River News from the Mannum area. It is alleged that, in doing so, Rural Press, and/or its subsidiary, misused its market power in the market for regional newspapers in the Murray Bridge district in breach of section 46 of the Trade Practices Act 1974.

The ACCC alleges that as a result of that conduct, Waikerie Printing House entered into an arrangement or understanding with Rural Press and/or its subsidiary to withdraw The River News from the Mannum area. It is alleged that the companies entered into a contract, arrangement or understanding in breach of section 45 of the Act.

The ACCC is seeking injunctions, declarations and penalties.

A directions hearing has been set down for 9 a.m. 30 July 1999.

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