• On 30 November 2012, the Productivity Commission commenced a wide ranging inquiry into the National Access Regime (Pt IIIA of the Australian Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) (CCA) and clause 6 of the Australian Competition Principles Agreement) (Inquiry).  When Part IIIA of the CCA was introduced in the mid 1990s, the framework provided for periodic reviews of its performance by the Commission.  This is the second such review, with the first undertaken in 2001. 
  • The Inquiry’s terms of reference released on the 25 October 2012 provide a very broad scope for the Inquiry.  The Issues Paper responds to the wide terms of reference by posing over 80 separate questions.  The questions address both specific issues about the structure, role, interpretation and performance of the current regime as well as others that go to the underlying policy rationale for Part IIIA including whether it needs to be retained at all or should be replaced with alternative policy options.  
  • The Inquiry invites stakeholder input in the form of written submissions (by 8 February 2013) and public hearings (due mid-2013). The Commission process provides infrastructure owners, operators, financiers and users an opportunity to contribute to policy development at a critical time. The Commission’s recommendations (due November 2013) are likely to shape the design and operation of access regulation over coming years as well as influence the principles and approaches adopted under other sectoral regimes (e.g. rail, telecommunications, gas, water, electricity, ports and airports) over the next decade or more.
  • For further information see the recent G+T client update.