ACCC/AER Regulatory Conference

Held every winter, this conference brings together industry participants, policy makers, academics and regulators from around the world to hear and discuss the latest ideas about the theory and practice of regulation.

2019 conference

The 2019 ACCC & AER regulatory conference will be held on Thursday 1st August and the morning of Friday 2nd August at the Sofitel Brisbane Central, 249 Turbot Street, Brisbane.

The theme of the 2019 conference is: Economic regulation in Australia: Still fit for purpose?

Conference program

The conference program contains full descriptions about each session:

ACCC and AER Regulatory Conference 2019 program ( PDF 325.26 KB )

Day 1: Thursday 1 August 2019

Times Details


Arrival, tea and coffee


Welcome by ACCC Chair, Rod Sims


Plenary 1

Le Grand
1 & 2



What’s coming down the track? The top three most important issues for economic regulation in the next five years

Our panel of international experts will each provide their reflections on the top three most important issues facing economic regulation and infrastructure markets over the next five years. Attend this session to not be surprised about what’s coming your way!

In addition, some of our favourite speakers from the past reflect on what they have learned over the 21 years of the Regulatory Conference.


  • Frank Wolak, Director, Program on Energy and Sustainable Development; Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research Senior Fellow by courtesy; Senior Fellow at FSI for International Studies and Holbrook Working Professor of Commodity Price Studies in Economics

Frank Wolak - Presentation (Plenary) ( PDF 574.97 KB )

  • Dr Thomas Hazlett, Clemson University, South Carolina, USA

Thomas Hazlett - Presentation (Plenary) ( PDF 3.8 MB )

And a selection of well-known speakers from the past …


Morning tea






Is the legal framework for market studies in Australia fit for purpose?

The ACCC currently conducts market studies under Part VIIA of the CCA. Part VIIA was originally the Prices Surveillance Act, enacted as an instrument of the Government’s prices and incomes policy under the Prices & Incomes Accord with a focus on moderating inflation. Today, the same provisions, now located in Part VIIA of the CCA, continue to house the role of prices oversight, but as an instrument of competition policy.

There are several examples of statutory regimes in various jurisdictions around the world that provide for Competition and Regulatory Agencies to conduct competition studies into the structure and behaviour of markets, and publish report. In some jurisdictions, such as the UK, the Agency can even require divestiture.

The ACCC, over the last three years, has completed and is conducting, pricing inquiries under Part VIIA into Gas, Dairy, Electricity, Gas (again), Insurance, Retail Mortgages, Digital Platforms, Currency Exchange and Electricity (again). Further, various government agencies are already in the process of implementing ACCC recommendations made in these inquiries.

Taking into consideration the experiences of the Commission and stakeholders active in the markets examined in the ACCC’s current and recent Part VIIA inquiries, we propose to consider the following:

  • What role should price inquiries (or market studies) play?
  • What should a regulator be seeking to achieve in conducting a price inquiry (or market study)?
  • Have we got this right in Australia?
  • What legislative structure do we need to support these objectives?


  • Antonio Capobianco, (Acting Head of Competition Division, OECD)

Antonio Capobianco - Presentation ( PDF 1.1 MB )

  • Antonia Horrocks, (General Manager, Competition and Consumer, New Zealand Commerce Commission)

Antonia Horrocks - Presentation ( PDF 1.33 MB )

  • Beth Griggs, (General Manager – Competition, Regulation and Strategy, AGL Energy)

Beth Griggs - Presentation ( PDF 773.36 KB )




Breakout 1A



Is 5G a threat to the NBN?

The introduction of 5G mobile services opens the door for the provision of fixed-wireless services which could, in principle, provide an alternative to the NBN for consumption of broadband services. What are the implications of 5G mobile services for NBN pricing and regulation?


  • Paul Reynolds, Senior Vice President, Compass Lexecon, London

Paul Reynolds - Presentation ( PDF 1.05 MB )

  • David Kennedy, Practice Leader for Asia Pacific, Ovum

David Kennedy - Presentation ( PDF 901.61 KB )

  • Dr Thomas Hazlett, Clemson University, South Carolina, USA

Thomas Hazlett - Presentation (5G) ( PDF 1.86 MB )


Breakout 1B





Gas Pipelines: Have we got the regulatory balance right?

In keeping with this year’s conference theme, 'Economic regulation in Australia: Still fit for purpose?', we will discuss the regulation of gas pipelines and will consider how contemporary international challenges and regulatory approaches compare with Australia’s. Recognising the myriad of recent reviews and reforms of the pipeline sector in Australia:

  • Is the current regulatory mix fit for purpose?
  • Has there been enough time to be able to adequately assess the impact of recent reforms?
  • What new/different challenges may present in the future?


  • Cynthia Chaplin, Executive Director of CAMPUT, Canada's Association of Energy and Utility Regulators

Cynthia Chaplin - Presentation ( PDF 2.33 MB )

  • Jeff Balchin, Managing Director, Incenta Economic Consulting

Jeff Balchin - Presentation ( PDF 1.14 MB )

  • Richard Owens, Executive General Manager – Transmission and Distribution Networks, Australian Energy Market Commission

Richard Owens - Presentation ( PDF 2.99 MB )


Afternoon tea


Breakout 2A


Electricity market reform: What still needs to be done?

After so many reviews and public attention, we are all over electricity market reform, and we know what needs to be done, right? Unfortunately technological change marches on. Putting aside the issues of today, will our framework still be fit for purpose in 10 years? What should we be doing now to prepare for a future with a decentralised grid, peer-to-peer trading, and high penetration of renewables?


  • Frank Wolak, Director, Program on Energy and Sustainable Development; Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research Senior Fellow by courtesy; Senior Fellow at FSI for International Studies and Holbrook Working Professor of Commodity Price Studies in Economics

Frank Wolak - Presentation (Electricity) ( PDF 436.43 KB )

  • Cynthia Chaplin, Executive Director of CAMPUT, Canada's Association of Energy and Utility Regulators

Cynthia Chaplin - Presentation (Electricity) ( PDF 1.35 MB )

  • Clare Savage, Deputy Chair, Energy Security Board

Clare Savage - Presentation ( PDF 888.85 KB )


Breakout 2B




Road reform, pricing and regulation: Can roads become just another regulated utility sector?

Most monopoly services in Australia are provided by regulated firms, subject to oversight of their pricing and investment decisions by a regulatory authority. Could placing the road sector on the same footing improve outcomes for road users, improving the timeliness and efficiency of investment in roads, and the efficiency with which roads are used? What are the issues with applying the Building Block Model to road providers? How should prices be determined for access to roads, and how can we transition to new arrangements with minimum disruption to the sector?


  • Scott Wilson, Principal Consultant, D’Artagnan Consulting

Scott Wilson - Presentation ( PDF 1.41 MB )

  • Lisa Gropp, Commissioner, Productivity Commission

Lisa Gropp - Presentation ( PDF 278.85 KB )

  • Hamish McDonald, Head of Structural Reform Division, The Treasury

Hamish McDonald - Overview ( PDF 203.78 KB )




Pre-dinner drinks – Ann Street

Conference dinner – Ballroom Le Grand

After dinner speaker: Joe Dimasi – Reflecting on 21 years of Reg Conference

Day 2: Friday 2 August 2019

Times Details


Arrival, tea and coffee



What can regulated sectors learn from the Royal Commission into Financial Services?

The Royal Commission into Financial Services (the Hayne Commission) highlighted a number of issues regarding where accountability lies for compliance with regulatory requirements, and the decisions of the regulators. This session will debate the implications for other regulated sectors. To what extent should Boards face explicit responsibility for failure to comply with regulatory obligations? How should businesses and regulators consider ‘community standards and expectations’, and what happens when public expectations appear to differ from detailed regulatory rules?  When a regulator makes decisions about limited enforcement resources, where is the line between efficient use of prosecutorial discretion and regulatory capture? What lessons have been learned about enforcement in, say, retail electricity and other sectors?


  • Peter Kell, former Deputy Chair, ASIC

Peter Kell - Overview ( PDF 593.03 KB )

  • Nevenka Codevelle, Group Executive Governance, Risk & Legal, APA Group

Nevenka Codevelle - Presentation ( PDF 108.87 KB )

  • Professor Jeannie Marie Paterson, Melbourne Law School

Professor Jeannie Marie Paterson - Overview ( PDF 819.12 KB )


Morning tea



Q&A session with a panel of regulatory experts

Conference speakers will join a panel providing an opportunity for the audience to ask questions through



Register to attend

Registration for the conference is now open. The cost to attend the conference is $1500 per delegate, or $1400 per delegate for 3 or more people from the same organisation.

To register, please see: 2019 ACCC/AER Regulatory Conference registration

A full refund is available for cancellations notified no later than COB Friday 19 July. After that date, organisations are able to substitute another delegate in place of the person registered for the conference. Please send details of any cancellations or change of delegate to


Please note that registration does not include accommodation.

Sofitel Brisbane Central is offering a discounted room only rate at $275.00 per night per Superior room OR room & breakfast rate at $305.00 per night per Superior room including buffet breakfast for one guest. Bookings can be made directly via for room only rate and for room & breakfast rate. Alternatively by calling Sofitel Brisbane Central Reservations Team on 07 3835 4444 (please let your Reservations Representative know the Conference Name and booking code AER310719). Rates are subject to availability at the time of booking and the discount may not be used in conjunction with any other offer. 30 days cancelation policy applies to all reservations. Any bookings cancelled within 30 days prior to arrival will incur a charge equivalent to cancelled nights.

There are also numerous other accommodation options within a 10 minute walk of the Sofitel Brisbane Central.

Updates about the conference will be sent to the ACCC’s Regulatory Community email group. If you would like to be added to the group please email

Past conferences