The 2017 ACCC and AER regulatory conference was held on Thursday 27 and the morning of Friday 28 July at the Hilton Hotel in Brisbane.

On this page


Innovation and better regulation.

Conference Program

Day 1: Thursday 27 July 2017

Session Details
8.30 Arrival, tea and coffee
8.55 to 9.10

Welcome and opening address

ACCC Chairman, Rod Sims

See: Welcome address: ACCC and AER Regulatory Conference

9.10 to 10.30

Plenary 1

International update, perspectives and implications for Australia

What are the big issues in the world of infrastructure regulation? The three speakers in the opening plenary session will provide an update on the current issues relating to the economic regulation of infrastructure from a UK, European and US perspective. This will include a focus on the conference theme of Innovation and Better Regulation.


Paula Conboy, Chair, AER


Jean-Michel Glachant, European University Institute, Director of the Florence school of Regulation, and Director of Loyola de Palacio Energy Policy Programme

JM Glachant - Plenary 1 ( PDF 2.53 MB )

Martin Cave, Inquiry Chair, UK Competition and Market Authority; and Visiting Professor, Imperial College Business School

M Cave - Plenary 1 ( PDF 398.7 KB )

Colette Honorable, Partner, Reed Smith LLP, and former Commissioner, US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

10.30 to 11.00 Morning tea

11.00 to 12.30

Plenary 2

Innovation in regulation: What did I miss?

What have been the big regulatory developments in Australia in the past 12 months? A series of short presentations highlighting the key regulatory developments in innovation from around Australia and New Zealand. Think of it as “speed dating” for the regulatory community! Topics covered:

  • the new regulatory framework for water businesses (PREMO): A progress report
  • the NZ government review of the regulatory framework for telecommunications after 2020
  • issues in the regulation of small-scale and isolated utility networks
  • urban water pricing: The ICRC review of the structure of tariffs for water and sewerage
  • regulatory issues arising from the transformation of the electricity industry


Darryl Biggar, Special Economic Advisor, ACCC & AER


Ron Ben-David, Chairperson, Essential Services Commission Victoria

R Ben-David - Plenary 2 ( PDF 315.39 KB )

Stephen Gale, Commissioner, New Zealand Commerce Commission

S Gale - Plenary 2 ( PDF 313.44 KB )

Adam Wilson, CEO, Essential Services Commission of South Australia

A Wilson - plenary 2 ( PDF 723.54 KB )

Joe Dimasi, Senior Commissioner, Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission

J Dimasi - Plenary 2 ( PDF 707.58 KB )

Anne Pearson, CEO, Australian Energy Markets Commission

12.30 to 1.30 Lunch

1.30 to 3.00

Plenary 3

What does it mean for a regulator to succeed?

When the regulator is incarcerated for corruption, we can see signs of regulatory failure. But how do we know when our regulator is succeeding? Is a regulator successful if prices go down or if prices go up? If investment increases or decreases? If there are no appeals or the regulator’s decision is upheld on appeal? If more people’s views are incorporated into the process or if the time taken to make a decision is reduced? Drawing from international experience, this session looks at what makes an excellent economic regulator, and new insights on how to reduce the risk of regulatory failure.


Sarah Court, Commissioner, ACCC 


Martin Cave, Inquiry Chair, UK Competition and Market Authority; and Visiting Professor, Imperial College Business School

M Cave - Plenary 3 ( PDF 504.99 KB )


Luke Woodward, Partner, Gilbert + Tobin

L Woodward, Inherent Limits on Regulatory Excellence ( PDF 91.72 KB )

Susan Taylor, Principal, Enertique

S Taylor - Plenary 3 ( PDF 161.37 KB )

3.00 to 3.30 Afternoon tea

3.30 to 5.00

Breakout 1A

Review of regulatory decisions: recent developments and international comparisons

In recent years there have been a number of significant legal reviews of regulatory decisions. Since 2015, the Australian Energy Regulator has had a number of its decisions reviewed by the Australian Competition Tribunal and, where the Tribunal has made determinations in those matters, those determinations have been the subject of appeal to the Full Federal Court. The merits review framework itself has also been the subject of review, with a number of changes to that framework expected to be announced in July 2017. In Canada, the Ontario Energy Board’s decisions have recently been reviewed by several levels of courts, including the Supreme Court of Canada. Our speakers will discuss recent decisions in both jurisdictions with a focus on similar issues such as the approach to labour arrangements, the level of “deference” shown to the original decision maker, and the use of benchmarking in forecasting regulated allowances.


Nicola Cusworth, Chair, Economic Regulation Authority, WA


Michael Millar, Senior ‎Legal Counsel, Ontario Energy Board

M Millar - Breakout 1A ( PDF 648.41 KB )

Catherine Dermody, Barrister

C Dermody - Breakout 1A ( PDF 125.08 KB )


Andy Nicholls, Managing Partner, Chapman Tripp, New Zealand

A Nichols - Breakout 1A ( PDF 212.74 KB )

3.30 to 5.00

Breakout 1B

How do other countries address the potential market power of airports?

The major Australian airports of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth have been operating under a monitoring regime for many years. With the next review of airport regulation by the Productivity Commission due in 2018, it is timely to consider the regulatory oversight of airports in other jurisdictions. What models appear to be delivering the best outcomes? Are innovative approaches emerging?


Peter Toy, Deputy General Counsel, ACCC


Hans-Martin Niemeier, Director of the Institute for Transport and Development, Bremen University of Applied Sciences

HM Niemeier - Breakout 1B ( PDF 1.95 MB )


Hugh Wehby, Chief Operating Officer, Sydney Airport

Barry Abrams, Executive Director, Board of Airline Representatives of Australia
6.30 to 7.00 Pre-dinner drinks
7.00 to 10.30 Conference dinner

Day 2: Friday 28 July 2017

Session Details
8.30 Arrival, tea and coffee

9.00 to 10.30

Breakout 2A

Gains from innovation in the communications sector: where will they come?

The communications sector is experiencing significant change as ‘disrupters’ challenge the traditional role of network operators, particularly in the innovation process. Who is driving innovation in the communications sector – network providers or disrupters? Will competition between network owners be enough to drive innovation? Where will the gains from innovation come from? Should regulators intervene and, if so, how?


Michael Cosgrave, EGM, Infrastructure Regulation Division, ACCC


Richard Feasey, Associate, Frontier Economics UK

R Feasey - Breakout 2A ( PDF 613.31 KB )


Jill Walker, Commissioner, Commerce Commission NZ

J Walker - Breakout 2A ( PDF 681 KB )

Rob Nicholls, Lecturer, UNSW Business School

R Nicholls - Breakout 2A ( PDF 104.19 KB )

9.00 to 10.30

Breakout 2B

Achieving the electricity industry of the future

What is the role of policy makers in transitioning to the electricity industry of the future? Should policy makers rely primarily on market forces or should they direct the outcomes that they want? If we should rely on market forces do we need to establish new market mechanisms? Can we rely on the market to get the prices right and will price incentives alone get us to the right place? Will we need additional intervention to foster competition, such as stronger forms of ring-fencing? Will there need to be corresponding changes to the regulatory framework? Can markets deliver adequate reliability or do we need stronger forms of government intervention to get us to move to a better future?


Rob Heferen, Deputy Secretary Energy, Department of Environment and Energy


Martin Crouch, Senior Partner, Improving Regulation, Ofgem

M Crouch - Breakout 2B ( PDF 516.37 KB )

Anne Pearson, CEO, Australian Energy Markets Commission

Colette Honorable, Partner, Reed Smith LLP, and former Commissioner, US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

10.30 to 11.00 Morning tea

11.00 to 11.40

Plenary 4

Infrastructure regulation dwarfed or bypassed by innovation: Decentralisation and digitalisation

The infrastructure areas subject to economic regulation have typically been network-based and displayed natural monopoly characteristics such as electricity, gas, telecommunications, water, airports, rail, ports and postal services. How is innovation challenging infrastructure regulation in Europe?


Michelle Groves, CEO, AER


Jean-Michel Glachant, Director, Florence School of Regulation and Director, Loyola de Palacio Energy Policy Programme

JM Glachant - Plenary 4 ( PDF 2.53 MB )

11.40 to 12.30

Closing plenary

Innovation and Better Regulation

Having trouble recalling the conference theme? Suffering conference brain and can’t remember what you heard on day one? Feeling frustrated because the conference organisers scrapped the Q&A at the end of each plenary session?  Enjoy DVDs because of the bonus features? Then this session is for you. The session brings together all the questions and comments sent throughout the conference, and asks our speakers to provide just that little bit extra …


Michelle Groves, CEO, AER


Conference speakers
(will depend on submitted questions that are voted most popular)

12.30 to 1.30 Lunch