The ACCC invites you to have your say on the ACCC's upcoming decision about whether Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW) will cease to be a Part 6 operator under the Water Charge Rules 2010 (WCR) after 30 June 2024.
About the consultation
On 7 March 2022, GMW notified the ACCC of its view that it will cease to be a Part 6 operator under the WCR after 30 June 2024. The ACCC is seeking stakeholder views to help it decide if GMW will cease to be a Part 6 operator after this date.
The WCR came into effect on 1 July 2020 and replaced the Water Charge (Infrastructure) Rules 2010 (WCIR), Water Charge (Termination Fees) Rules 2009 and Water Charge (Planning and Management Information) Rules 2010.
Subrule 81(11)(b) of the WCR requires that an operator must notify the ACCC of any matter that it is aware of that may result in the infrastructure operator ceasing to be a Part 6 operator, or becoming one, on a specified date.
On 1 December 2021, amendments to relevant Victorian legislation came into effect that allow the Victorian Essential Services Commission (ESCV) to determine Murray-Darling Basin infrastructure charges at the conclusion of GMW’s current regulatory period (30 June 2024). Both GMW and the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) are of the view that these legislative changes mean that GMW will cease to be a Part 6 operator after 30 June 2024. DELWP made a submission to the ACCC on 24 January 2022 setting out the reasons for this view.
Rule 23 of the WCR
Under Rule 23 of the 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 the prudency and efficiency requirements set out under subrule 29(2)(b) of the WCR (this paragraph relates to requirements concerning 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 forms a view that GMW will cease to be a Part 6 operator, the ESCV will continue to regulate GMW’s infrastructure charges after the end of GMW’s current regulatory period but will do so under Victorian law.
The Water Charge Rules 2010 and Water Act 2007 are available at the Federal Register of Legislation:
How to make a submission
The ACCC prefers submissions to be provided via the ACCC Consultation Hub.
Submissions may be addressed to:
Water Regulation and Compliance
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
GPO Box 3131
CANBERRA ACT 2601
Consultation opens: Wednesday 9 March 2022
Consultation closes: Thursday 24 March 2022
Please note this consultation is being conducted publicly and as such, submissions will be treated as public documents and published unless a claim of confidentiality is made and accepted, or a submission is withdrawn.
Please mark any information that you believe to be of a confidential nature and provide reasons why this information should be treated confidentially. If the ACCC accepts your confidentiality claim, it will not publish or disclose the confidential information to third parties, other than advisors or consultants engaged directly by the ACCC, without first endeavouring to provide you with notice of its intention to do so, wherever possible, such as where it is compelled to do so by law.
If the ACCC rejects your confidentiality claim, you will be given the opportunity to withdraw your submission before it is published, or any information is disclosed.
The ACCC’s information policy includes information on the collection and disclosure of information.