The consumer watchdog has taken action against a Canberra company and its local director, alleging he attempted to rig a bid for a tender at the National Gallery of Australia.
Civil proceedings in the Federal Court have been started against Delta Building Automation Pty Ltd and the company's sole director Timothy Davis, for an alleged attempted cartel in relation to a tender.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission alleges Mr Davis met with a representative from a competitor company at a Canberra cafe in December 2019, where he attempted to fix the price of bids to be submitted by Delta and the competitor to a tender run by the gallery.
Delta Building Automation supplies, installs and maintains building management systems which automate some functions, like air-conditioning, ventilation and lighting.
The National Gallery of Australia was not involved in or aware of the alleged conduct, and didn't suffer any loss, the watchdog said.
"The alleged cartel behaviour, involving an attempt to bid rig with a competitor in respect of bids for the tender of a government institution like the National Gallery of Australia, is of particular concern as it had the potential to impact the cost to taxpayers," Chair of the commission Rod Sims said.
According to the ACCC, the competitor didn't accept the approach from Delta and Mr Davis, and an arrangement for a cartel wasn't made.
"It is illegal for any corporation to make or attempt to make cartel arrangements with its competitors. Cartel arrangements usually drive up prices to the detriment of consumers or other businesses and organisations, and are strictly prohibited," Mr Sims said.
The case will be listed before the Federal Court with a date to be set.
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