The ACCC is required under Part 6 of the Water Charge Rules 2010 (WCR) to decide whether on-river infrastructure operators meet the definition of ‘Part 6 operators’ and, if so, whether to grant them an exemption from the operation of the requirements of Part 6 of the WCR.
The ACCC will consider the application of Part 6 of the WCR to infrastructure operators in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria. If the ACCC decides that any infrastructure operators are or will be a Part 6 operator, the ACCC will decide whether the operator should be granted an exemption.
The Water Charge Rules 2010 and Water Act 2007 are available at the Federal Register of Legislation:
The ACCC's review of the water charge rules is available on the ACCC website at: Review of the water charge rules: advice development
On-river infrastructure operators provide services for the storage and/or the delivery of water to customers with an extraction point located on the river itself.
Under Rule 23 of the Water Change Rules (WCR), an infrastructure operator is a Part 6 operator if:
- it is not required to have all its infrastructure charges determined or approved by a single State Agency under a law of the State in a way that is consistent with paragraph 29(2)(b) of the WCR (this paragraph relates to requirements about prudency and efficiency of costs); and
- it levies an infrastructure charge in relation to either:
- a bulk water service in respect of water access rights; or
- infrastructure services in relation to the storage or delivery of water that is necessary to give effect to an arrangement for the sharing of water between more than one Basin State.
If the ACCC decides that an operator is a Part 6 operator, it will then decide whether to exempt the operator from the operation of the requirements of divisions 2, 3 and 4 of Part 6 of the WCR. In the absence of an exemption, the ACCC will be responsible for setting the operator’s infrastructure charges under Part 6 of the WCR.
The ACCC may only grant an exemption if it is satisfied that the application of those Part 6 requirements would not materially contribute to the achievement of the Basin water charging objectives and principles set out in Schedule 2 of the Water Act 2007. Rule 23C of the WCR sets out the factors the ACCC must have regard to in making an exemption decision.