The Federal Government today released the final report of the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into the National Access Regime (‘the Regime’).
The Regime is a regulatory framework that provides an avenue for firms to access essential infrastructure services owned and operated by others, when commercial negotiations are unsuccessful.
Since its introduction in 1995, the National Access Regime has influenced the way access negotiations occur across the economy, including in rail, airports, port terminal and grain handling facilities at ports.
The Productivity Commission’s review of the Regime followed a recommendation of a 2001 report for a further review to occur five years after the report’s amendments were implemented.
In addition, the Productivity Commission’s review was also required by clause 8.1 of the 2006 Council of Australian Government’s (COAG) Competition and Infrastructure Reform Agreement (CIRA) which called for a five year review of a number of the agreement’s operation and terms.
The Final Report’s key finding is that the access regime is working effectively and should be retained.
The Productivity Commission has made a number of important recommendations to refine the regime to ensure it continues to perform its important role of facilitating access to nationally significant infrastructure.
The Regime, by facilitating access to nationally significant infrastructure, promotes competition in markets that are dependent on the infrastructure being available.
The Prime Minister and myself announced a ‘root and branch’ review of competition law on 3 December 2013.
The ‘root and branch’ review will look at all aspects of competition law and policy, including the Regime.
The Government will respond to the Productivity Commission’s report following the outcomes of the root and branch review.