The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has published its advice on proposed amendments to the water charge rules. Publication of the advice follows its public release by the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources on 14 November 2016. The water charge rules provide the framework for the setting of regulated charges affecting irrigators and water infrastructure operators in the Murray-Darling Basin.
In December 2014, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment wrote to the ACCC requesting advice on the water charge rules under s93(1) of the Water Act 2007. The request responded to a recommendation by the independent panel reviewing the Water Act 2007 to review the rules.
In preparing its advice, the ACCC considered the review terms of reference, the requirements of the Water Act 2007 and the views and information obtained through its extensive consultation process.
During its process, the ACCC called for submissions in response to its issues paper and draft advice (including draft rules). It held eight public forums in regional centres across the Murray-Darling Basin. The ACCC also met individually with a range of stakeholders, including infrastructure operators, representative groups and Basin state government departments.
Further information on the Minister’s response to the final advice is available on the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources website.