find the latest legal job
Corporate/Commercial Lawyers (2-5 years PAE)
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Specialist commercial law firm · Long-term career progression
View details
Graduate Lawyer / Up to 1.5 yr PAE Lawyer
Category: Personal Injury Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Mentoring Opportunity in Regional QLD · Personal Injury Law
View details
Corporate and Commercial Partner
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Full time · Join a leading Adelaide commercial law firm
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Sydney NSW
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
Competition watchdog defends access regulation

Competition watchdog defends access regulation

ACCC chairman Rod Sims had defended the Australian approach to access regulation at an event hosted by Gilbert + Tobin, despite arguments that the current regime is hindering economic performance._x000D_ _x000D_

ACCC chairman Rod Sims had defended the Australian approach to access regulation at an event hosted by Gilbert + Tobin, despite arguments that the current regime is hindering economic performance.

“On the whole, the Australian approach to access regulation has worked well,” Sims (pictured) told an audience of legal professionals and media at the firm’s Sydney office yesterday (18 April). He clarified that, in his view, the Australian approach is a combination of industry-specific regulation and general access under Part IIIA of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.

According to Sims, Australia is facing more critical issues around appropriate levels of infrastructure investment for airports, roads and rail, which trump concerns about the impact of Part IIIA on infrastructure development.

“We see continual increasing prices for airports, while in some instances quality of service has fallen over a sustained period of time,” he said. “There are also increasing concerns over congestion ... [which] raise concerns about whether certain airports are investing enough.”

The Productivity Commission, which is currently reviewing the effectiveness of Part IIIA, is scheduled to publish a draft report in May.

Sims also argued that industry-specific regulation still has a place in the National Access Regime being considered by the Productivity Commission.

He said the argument that all industries should be regulated by Part IIIA “makes no sense” because, in circumstances like the Pilbara Railways matter, the general regime can be a more costly, complex and time-consuming path to access.

“The High Court in its recent Pilbara decision found that a ‘privately profitable’ test should apply. [This] has the potential to lead to adverse impacts on economy-wide efficiency and competition, for example, the restriction or foreclosure of competition in markets reliant on access to bottleneck infrastructure or, on the other hand, socially wasteful duplication of infrastructure facilities.”

Stephen King, Professor of Economics at Monash University and a panellist at the event, argued that access regulation is “distorting private decision making with no economic benefit”.

“If there’s no economic benefit it shouldn’t be there,” he said.

Sims responded by stating there is an efficiency argument in favour of regulation, highlighting an undertaking by the ACCC to prevent wheat port operators, who also exported wheat, to foreclose their ports to competitors.

He conceded, however, to problems with some reforms in the telecommunications industry in the 1980s and 1990s, including the structural separation of Telecom’s copper network from its retail activities. But, he added, competition has not been constrained in either the telecommunications or electricity sector.

“Despite many refinements and frustrations, the telecommunications access regime has seen significant competition introduced and large consumer benefit,” he said. “[In the electricity sector], access to poles and wires has not constrained competition.”

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Competition watchdog defends access regulation
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Scales of Justice
Dec 15 2017
Timing ‘critical’ in unusual contempt of court ruling
A recent case could have interesting implications for contempt of court rulings, according to a Ferr...
Dec 14 2017
International arbitration and business culture
Promoted by Maxwell Chambers. This article discusses the impact of international arbitration on t...
Papua New Guinea flag
Dec 14 2017
World-first mining case launched in PNG
Citizens of Papua New Guinea have launched landmark legal proceedings against the country’s govern...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...