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Productivity Commission inquiry into the National Access Regime



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David Bradbury MP Assistant Treasurer

Minister Assisting for Deregulation

Media Release

PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION INQUIRY INTO THE NATIONAL ACCESS REGIME

Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury today announced a Productivity Commission inquiry into the National Access Regime.

This inquiry is a milestone in the Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG) Seamless National Economy National Partnership and will satisfy clause 8.1 of the COAG Competition and Infrastructure Reform Agreement.

The inquiry is also timely, given the implications for the Regime from the recent High Court decision in relation to the Pilbara railways case. That decision found that a key criterion for declaration - concerning whether it is uneconomical for anyone to develop another facility - is a test of whether anyone could profitably construct another facility, rather than a test concerned with natural monopoly characteristics.

“The National Access Regime, which is set out under Part IIIA of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, promotes efficient investment in infrastructure and ensures its efficient operation and use, to encourage effective competition in dependent markets,” said Mr Bradbury.

“The Productivity Commission inquiry into the Regime provides an excellent opportunity to review how the Regime balances these objectives today and other matters relating to the Regime.”

The inquiry will also look at whether the Regime reaches an appropriate balance between access and private property rights as originally envisaged by the Hilmer Review, which led to the Regime’s creation.

The Productivity Commission will hold public hearings and release a draft report for public comment, before delivering a final report to the Government in twelve months.

The Terms of Reference for the inquiry are attached. For more information, visit the Productivity Commission’s website www.pc.gov.au.

25 October 2012

Media contact: Justin Koek 0400 126 939