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National Access Regime

Industry Commission submission

This submission was released in January 1997 and it focuses on a new and complex arm of regulation and legislation arising from competition policy reform - the national access regime.

Under the new arrangements, a third party can seek access to significant infrastructure through a number of avenues, two of which - declaration and certification - depend upon recommendations to the Minister by the National Competition Council (NCC).

The submission presents the Commission's preliminary views on some key aspects of the NCC processes as outlined in The National Access Regime: A Draft Guide to Part IIIA of the Trade Practices Act.

It also addresses key issues associated with the New South Wales Government's request to the NCC to certify the New South Wales Access Regime for Natural Gas Distribution Networks (NSW Regime) as 'effective'.

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Contents

Preliminaries
Cover, Copyright, Contents, Abbreviations, Summary

1   Introduction

2   Declaration: the Assessment Criteria
2.1   Criterion a — the competition test
2.1.1   ‘promote competition’
2.1.2   ‘in at least one market other than the market for the service’
2.2   Criterion b — the natural monopoly test
2.2.1   Rationale for mandating access
2.2.2   Identifying natural monopoly
2.3     Criterion c — the national significance test
2.3.1   Size of the facility
2.3.2   Importance of the facility to constitutional trade or commerce
2.3.3   Importance of the facility to the national economy
2.4   Criterion f — the public interest test

3   Certification and the NSW Gas Code
3.1   Clause 6(3)(a)(i)
3.1.1   Is the NSW natural gas distribution network a natural monopoly?
3.2   Clause 6(3)(a)(ii)
3.2.1   Effective competition
3.2.2   Will competition be promoted in related markets?
3.2.3   Upstream markets
3.2.4   Downstream markets
3.3   Clause 6(4)(a) to (c)
3.3.1   Negotiation and access to ‘essential’ infrastructure
3.3.2   Regulated pricing of access
3.3.3   The role of arbitration
3.3.4   Regulated commercial negotiation and arbitration
3.3.5   Other alternatives to regulated access prices

Appendix A   Will Negotiated Access Produce Efficient Pricing Outcomes?

References

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