Resources suppliers have been accused of secretly conspiring during the tendering process.
Two contractors were recently sued at the Federal Court for alleged bid rigging and price fixing.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) claims Swift Networks, DXC Connect and DXC Technology Australia agreed to rig bids and fix prices five times for technology infrastructure at multiple mine accommodation camps throughout 2019.
The contractors allegedly provided information technology, communications, audio-visual entertainment infrastructure and associated services for internet and free-to-air or subscription television to Fortescue Metals Group’s Japal Village at Iron Bridge plus Rio Tinto’s Gudai-Darri, West Angelas, Yandicoogina, Western Turner Syncline and Peninsula Palms mines.
“Bid rigging and price fixing drives up prices for businesses and harms the economy, which is why cartel conduct is a serious breach of our competition laws,” ACCC Commissioner Liza Carver said in a public statement.
“This case is a reminder to all businesses, large or small that they must exercise caution when they are dealing with competitors to ensure that these discussions do not lead to anti-competitive arrangements including cartel conduct.”
ACCC is seeking declarations, penalties, costs and other orders.
A Fortescue spokesperson refused to comment on the matter.