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The role of the National Competition Council
The National Competition Council is a research and advisory body which was established in 1995 by agreement of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG).
The Council's main function is to recommend on the regulation of third party access to services provided by monopoly infrastructure. Section 29B of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 sets out the functions and powers of the Council.
Third-party access regulation
The National Access Regime in Part IIIA of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) (CCA) seeks to promote the efficient operation of, use of and investment in monopoly infrastructure. The regime provides for access to the services of infrastructure facilities on appropriate terms, through the declaration of services.
The Council’s role under the National Access Regime is to make recommendations to relevant ministers in relation to applications for declaration of services and also the certification of state or territory access regimes.
The Council has a similar role under the National Gas Law, whereby it makes recommendations on the coverage of natural gas pipeline systems. Under the National Gas Law, the Council also has the tasks of deciding the form of regulation of natural gas pipeline systems (light or full regulation), classifying pipelines (as transmission or distribution) and recommending in relation to various exemptions for greenfields gas pipelines.
Further information regarding declaration, certification and the National Gas Law is provided in the ‘Making an application’ section of this website.
The Council comprises the President and up to four part time councillors with a variety of backgrounds who are drawn from different parts of Australia. More information about the current councillors can be accessed using the left-hand menu.
The Council changed its approach to the provision of secretariat services as of 1 July 2014. Under the new arrangements the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) provides secretariat services to the Council, including advice and support in relation to NCC recommendations, decisions and reports, and administrative services.
The Council remains an independent entity with its current responsibilities and membership (in accord with Part IIA of the CCA), but rather than directly engaging staff (and other resources) to provide secretariat services, it draws on ACCC resources as required.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the NCC and ACCC provides that an appropriately qualified officer (from the ACCC) will be designated as Executive Director of the NCC. Currently, that officer is Mr Richard York, Principal Economist, Legal and Economic Division, ACCC. He can be contacted on 1800 099 470 or via email at email@example.com.
More details are provided in the links below.
Please refer to the menu on the left-hand panel for more information regarding the Council.