Access and Regulated Industries

Access and economic regulation are critical issues for infrastructure investment in Australia. Successfully navigating the complex web of Commonwealth, state and territory regulation is critical to optimising the use of, and investment in, significant infrastructure.

MinterEllison has extensive experience in general access regulation under Part IIIA of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 and industry specific regimes including electricity and gas access, energy market regulation, transport infrastructure (including ports, rail and airports), water infrastructure, telecommunications and broadcasting. Our history of dealing with investors, operators, users and regulators gives us a unique ability to provide practical insights into the operation of Australia’s access and regulatory regimes. 

Our lawyers combine a thorough understanding of the competition and economic policy issues underlying regulatory regimes with substantial industry experience, enabling them to offer strategic advice at all stages of the regulatory process – from managing the threat of regulation, influencing regulatory design, maximising revenue and challenging a regulator’s decision when required. We work alongside economists and industry experts and our multi-disciplinary team gives our clients the reassurance and continuity of advisers in the event of a dispute.

Many industry-specific regulatory regimes have their roots in access, price and market regulation and consumer protection. This is why MinterEllison teams its regulatory practice with competition and consumer law – the skills and the ways of thinking are complementary.

Although all industries are regulated to an extent, regulation of utilities such as electricity, gas, water, telecommunications and transport has a complex history. Advising a client in one of these sectors on an isolated aspect of the applicable regulations is difficult without having a comprehensive understanding of the whole regulatory system, its structure, the relevant instruments and agreements, the history of its development and what the future is likely to hold. We work hard to ensure our lawyers have that understanding so our advice is strategically and structurally informed and efficiently provided.

We undertake regulatory work for private sector clients, industry bodies, and state governments and Commonwealth government bodies.

25 July 2014

China's State Administration of Foreign Exchange has announced reforms to its foreign exchange administration in order to make it easier for Chinese individuals and companies to invest abroad.

14 July 2014

The People's Bank of China has released the Administrative Measures for the Foreign Exchange Purchase and Sale Business Provided by Banks which will come into force on 1 August 2014. The Measures will clarify the definition of Business and adjust the supervision and management model to provide banks with greater autonomy and a simplified process to market entry and exit.

20 February 2014

The Federal Government has released the final report of the Productivity Commission's inquiry into the National Access Regime in particular Part IIIA of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. While there are no changes to the regulatory framework or institutional arrangements, the report does recommend a package of reforms designed to ensure the scope of the Regime is confined to those exceptional circumstances.

29 August 2013

Recent enforcement activity by the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has highlighted the risks to electricity market participants who seek to manipulate energy markets for financial gain.

10 July 2013

The first court decision applying the cartel provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 has set the bar for establishing per se liability worryingly low. Significantly for M&A practitioners, the case calls into question the traditional risk assessment of 'back to back' or 'partial follow on' transactions from a bid-rigging perspective, including those that occur offshore. With an appeal by Bradken lodged in April, it seems 'at least possible' the Federal Court will revisit the low bar applied to satisfaction of the competition condition in this case - and the outcome will be one to watch.