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Third party access to natural gas pipeline

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The National Competition Council (the Council) has been asked by the WA Government to assess whether the WA’s Natural Gas Pipelines Access Regime is an effective regime under the Trade Practices Act. ^ U k

The Access Regime was introduced by WA in 1998 as part of an important package of National Competition Policy (NCP) reforms to promote free and fair trade in gas. The new law provides a means for industry to buy spare capacity in existing pipelines at fair and reasonable prices as assessed by the Western Australian Gas Independent Pipelines Access Regulator. All major gas transmission

and distribution pipelines in WA will eventually be covered by the regime.

The Regime, in conjunction with equivalent reforms in each of the other States and Territories, is expected to spur growth in the market for gas and encourage the development of a national gas pipeline grid. The underlying aim is to encourage multiple sources of supply for gas markets and competition

between the nation’s gas basins and between different producers in the same basin.

The role of the NCC in this process is to make a recommendation to the Commonwealth Government on whether the WA Access Regime satisfies the conditions for an effective access regime set out in the Trade Practices Act. If the Commonwealth decides that the Regime is effective, the Regime will be granted ‘certification’ meaning that it provides the exclusive legal framework for access to WA pipelines.

The Council is now calling for written submissions to assist in its assessment of the WA Regime, and has prepared an Issues Paper identifying some of the issues to be considered by the Council during the course of its assessment. Copies of the Council’s issues paper are available from the Council’s web page located at The closing date for submissions is 23 April 1999.

MEDIA CONTACT: Mr Luke Berry 03 9285 7782

30 March 1999