An application for the provisional or final registration of a conference agreement may include a request for confidentiality. Sections 10.34 and 10.35 of the Act and Regulations 41 and 47 set out the requirements for confidentiality requests. The request for confidentiality must:
- contain a statement of reasons in support of the request;
- contain an abstract of the part of the application or accompanying document that is to be kept confidential in the prescribed form (Form 3); and
- be verified by a statutory declaration.
Decisions by the Registrar of Liner Shipping
The Registrar of Liner Shipping must be satisfied that the abstract has been made in the appropriate form and been verified. The Registrar of Liner Shipping must also decide whether the abstract adequately describes the confidential part of the agreement. If the Registrar of Liner Shipping is not so satisfied then the abstract shall not be accepted, the request for confidentiality is refused and the application for provisional registration is also refused. The Registrar of Liner Shipping will notify the applicant of the decision (section 10.36).
The Registrar of Liner Shipping must be satisfied that granting the request would not disadvantage Australian exporters and that the request is justified because:
- trade secrets could be disclosed;
- commercially valuable information could be destroyed or diminished; or
- A person's or organisation's lawful business or professional affairs could be adversely affected (section 10.37 (1) of the Act).
If the Registrar of Liner Shipping is satisfied that the request has properly been made and is also satisfied on the basis of the statement of reasons included in the application, the applicants are notified that the request for confidentiality is accepted and that those parts of the agreement will not be made open to public inspection.
If the Registrar of Liner Shipping is not satisfied, then the applicants are notified immediately within the 14 day period that the request is not accepted and that provisional registration has also not been granted. The application for registration and documents that accompanied the application are returned when the request for confidentiality is refused.
If a request for confidentiality is granted, the original agreement containing the confidential parts is filed separately in a secure cabinet. A copy of the agreement with the confidential parts removed is filed for public inspection.
Review of Decisions by the Registrar of Liner Shipping
Part X of the Act provides that applications may be made to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for review of a reviewable decision. A reviewable decision means a decision by the Registrar of Liner Shipping under Part X, other than a decision to provisionally or finally register a conference agreement or a decision as to the form of a register (section 10.84).
Where the Registrar of Liner Shipping makes a reviewable decision then a person whose interests are affected by the decision is notified that they have a right to review by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and a right to request a statement that includes reasons for the decision (section 10.85).