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Thursday, 24 June 2010
Page: 4247

Senator RONALDSON (10:17 AM) —I rise to speak on the Trade Practices Amendment (Infrastructure Access) Bill 2009. The objective of this bill is to minimise delays in decision making under the National Access Regime. The National Access Regime provides a mechanism for business operators to be granted access to privately held infrastructure which cannot be reasonably duplicated by a competitor. The regime provides a mechanism for access to privately held, nationally significant infrastructure where two parties cannot reach an agreement on its use.

Under the Howard government, COAG agreed to introduce the requirement that regulators will be bound to make regulatory decisions within six months. Also, where a merits review is provided for, reviews are to be limited to the information submitted to the original decision maker. This bill gives effect to the amendments agreed to by COAG.

The amendments to infrastructure access are welcomed by the coalition, as they will encourage competition in all sectors that require access to privately held infrastructure of national significance. Consequently, the coalition supports the bill, which will result in a more effective and efficient market arrangement.