The Regulatory Development Branch (RDB) provides specialist advisory services in economics and finance. The branch assists the ACCC and AER to keep abreast of the diversity of economic arguments presented to them and to develop consistent approaches across the regulated sectors wherever possible.
To achieve these outcomes the RDB undertakes the following key roles:
Providing specialist economic and finance advice. The RDB is committed to providing the branches with an understanding of the complex economic and finance issues associated with a particular decision, so that the range of ‘economically sound’ options are raised and explored before a decision is released.
The RDB chairs and is secretariat to the Financial Modelling and Economics Group (FMEG). This internal committee provides a formal mechanism for testing consistency issues across the economic and financial reasoning that underpins various regulatory decisions. RDB economists can also identify consistency issues through their work across sectors.
Increasing the economic knowledge and skills of regulatory staff and more generally of the ACCC. The RDB offers a range of formal training courses in regulatory economics and a seminars program. The branch is responsible for the ACCC Annual Regulatory Conference, which provides a training opportunity for a significant number of regulatory staff and maintains links with the regulatory community. The RDB also runs the ACCC's summer intern program for Australian economics honours students.
Monitoring trends and latest thinking in economic regulation in Australia and internationally. RDB produces two regular internal publications, the Monitor (focussing on the literature) and the Regulatory Observer (focussing on the latest Australian and international regulatory decisions).
- Providing secretariat assistance to a range of activities including technical assistance with speeches and materials for committees –the Infrastructure Consultative Committee and the Utility Regulators Forum. RDB also produces and edits Network, the publication of the Utility Regulators Forum.
The following operational information contains further detail on the work of the RDB.