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Gas Pipelines Access (Commonwealth) Bill 1998

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13103 Cat. No. 97 2674 8 ISBN 0644 51664X












The Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia













Gas Pipelines Access (Commonwealth) Bill 1997







Supplementary Explanatory Memorandum


Amendments to be moved on behalf of the Government








(Circulated by authority of the Minister for Resources and Energy,

 Senator the Hon Warwick Parer)



Gas Pipelines Access (Commonwealth) Bill 1997



General Outline


1.              These amendments to the above Bill effect minor changes required to the Commonwealth’s role in implementing the national third party access regime for natural gas pipelines in fulfillment of the Council of Australian Governments’ (CoAG) commitment to "free and fair" trade in natural gas, and in accordance with the Commonwealth's obligations in the Natural Gas Pipelines Access Agreement, signed by Heads of Government at the CoAG meeting of 7 November 1997. 

2.              Included are minor amendments to the Trade Practices Act 1974   (TPA) to improve the application of the Act.

3.              The national Gas Pipeline Access Law has been enacted by South Australia.

Coverage by Commonwealth legislation

4.              The amendment Bill provides for relevant Ministers to be able to confer functions and powers on the Code Registrar as necessary.  This additional power is included in the Gas Law enacted by South Australia.  Inclusion in the Commonwealth Bill is necessary to retain consistency.  This power will provide flexibility to broaden the role of the Code Registrar if this is subsequently considered desirable.

Trade Practices Act 1974   amendments

5.              The amendment contained in the Bill will ensure the ‘test’ under which additional matters may be contained in an effective access regime will more accurately reflect the policy intent.

6.              Other changes to the TPA provide for a definition of the expression ‘industry code of practice’ (an expression used elsewhere in the text), and move another definition to a more appropriate place.  There is also a consequential amendment to the heading of a section.

Financial Impact Statement

7.              Nothing in this amendment Bill will increase the financial commitment of the Commonwealth significantly.

Regulation Impact Statement

8.              Nothing in these amendments will alter the Regulation Impact Statement submitted with the Bill.

notes on clauses

Part 3 - National Administration and Enforcement

Amendment 1

Clause 15, page 15 (lines 4 to 7)

9.              The amendment to Clause 15 provides for relevant Ministers to be able to confer functions and powers on the Code Registrar as necessary.

Schedule 1 - Amendment of Commonwealth Acts

Trade Practices Act 1974

Amendment 2

Item 14, Page 28 (line 28)

10.          This item has been amended to replace the word “consistent” with “not inconsistent”.  This amendment changes slightly the ‘test’ under which additional matters may be contained in an effective access regime, to more accurately reflect the policy intent.

Amendment 3

Item 27, Page 31 (before line 11)

11.          Proposed section 87D of the Trade Practices Act (Item 27) has been expanded to include the definition “Industry code of practice means a code regulating the conduct of participants in an industry towards other participants in the industry or towards consumers in the industry”.  This was considered warranted given the use of the expression in proposed subsections 88(8AA), (8AB) and paragraph 88(15)(a).

12.          The definition of “Minor variation, in relation to an authorisation, is a single variation that does not involve a material change in the effect of the authorisation” has simply been moved from proposed subsection 91A(9).  The heading of proposed section 87D has accordingly been changed from “Definition” to “Definitions”.

Amendment 4

Item 48, Page 37 (line 32)

13.          Proposed subsection 91A(7) of the Trade Practices Act (Item 48) has been amended by adding the word “minor” after “single” in the last line.  This clarifies the meaning of the subsection.

Amendment 5

Item 48, Page 38 (lines 1 to 4)

14.         This item refers to the definition moved to Item 27 (see above).