The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has proposed to authorise Liquor Stax Australia to collectively bargain with a range of wholesale suppliers.

On behalf of around 200 small businesses, Liquor Stax is seeking authorisation to collectively bargain with 60 wholesale suppliers of alcohol, cigarettes, poker machines and confectionery as well as services such as advertising, insurance and communications.

According to the ACCC, it considers the collective bargaining arrangements are likely to result in public benefits by providing Liquor Stax members with greater input into the terms and conditions of supply contracts. In addition, suppliers and members are both likely to experience transaction cost savings as a result of reducing the number of parties to negotiations.

Participation in the collective negotiations is voluntary for all parties and does not impose any restrictions on a member's choice of suppliers. The ACCC proposes to grant authorisation for five years.

The ACCC now invites comments on the draft determination. The ACCC's draft determination and information about making a submission will be available from the ACCC website. Parties wishing to make submissions should do so by 22 September 2010.