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Reforms to streamline the national access regime.
REFORMS TO STREAMLINE THE NATIONAL ACCESS REGIME
Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs, Chris Bowen MP, has commenced consultations with the States and Territories on a package of reforms to enhance the National Access Regime.
The reforms aim to improve the efficiency, timeliness and effectiveness of regulatory decision-making under the Regime in Part IIIA of the Trade Practices Act 1974 (TPA).
While the Regime appears to be operating effectively, there are concerns it is generating regulatory risks that are hindering investment in essential infrastructure.
Some infrastructure owners and access seekers have argued that processes under the Regime are too lengthy and costly.
Mr Bowen says there is a broad consensus that something needs to be done to speed up the process.
"Currently, processes under the National Access Regime can go on for years. The National Access Regime needs to be improved to make decisions and arbitration faster," he said.
Accordingly, Mr Bowen is proposing amendments to Part IIIA and related provisions in Parts II and IIA of the TPA that will streamline administrative arrangements and provide greater regulatory certainty for infrastructure owners.
The package draws on recommendations from the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), the Productivity Commission, the National Competition Council (NCC) and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
In summary, the reforms will: