The ACCC’s water functions sit within the Infrastructure Regulation Division and report to the Infrastructure Committee.
The ACCC’s main functions in the water sector under the Water Act 2007 and the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (CCA) are to:
- enforce water market rules and water charge rules under the Water Act
- enforce the CCA with water brokers, exchanges and irrigation infrastructure operators
- monitor and report on regulated water charges and compliance with water market and water charge rules
- determine regulated charges in certain limited circumstances
- advise the Commonwealth minister responsible for water on the making, amendment and repeal of water market rules and water charge rules
- advise the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) on the development of water trading rules.
The ACCC’s role under the Water Act does not include urban water supplies, or water resources outside the Murray-Darling Basin.
The following operational information contains further detail on the work of the ACCC in water.
Guides to the Water Market Rules and the Water Charge Rules
The ACCC currently monitors compliance with and enforces four sets of statutory rules made by the Minister under the Water Act. These are the Water Market Rules, the Water Charge (Termination Fees) Rules, the Water Charge (Infrastructure) Rules and the Water Charge (Planning and Management Information Rules). These are available on the ACCC website.
The ACCC has released a number of guides to assist irrigators, infrastructure operators and governments in the Murray-Darling Basin to understand the requirements of these rules.
Information for irrigators
Permanently selling your water & terminating your delivery rights
This guide is an introduction to the rules affecting irrigators that choose to transform their irrigation right so as to trade their water and terminate water delivery services and pay termination fees.
Transforming your irrigation right & maintaining water delivery
This guide is an introduction to the water market rules affecting irrigators that choose to transform their current irrigation right into a water access entitlement and want to maintain access to water delivery services.
Information for infrastructure operators
A guide to the Water market rules and water delivery contracts 2012
This is a guide on how to apply Water Market Rules 2009 and subsequent amendments to the rules made by the minister and replaces “A guide to the Water Market Rules 2009 and water delivery contracts, June 2009”. The water market rules were amended by the Water Market Amendment Rules 2012 on 16 October 2012.
This guide assists operators, irrigators and their advisors (consultants, lawyers, brokers etc) to understand how the water market rules will apply to them. In particular, it:
- explains the ACCC’s view of the water market rules
- provides examples of how the water market rules could be applied in particular cases
- provides guidance on what operators should and should not do if they wish to minimise the risk of breaching the water market rules.
A guide to the Water charge (termination fees) rules
This document provides guidance on the application of the Water Charge (Termination Fees) Rules 2009, including amendments to those rules made by the minister in October 2012. It replaces “A guide to the water charge (termination fees) rules, December 2011”.
Guideline on transformation application fees
The guideline assists irrigation infrastructure operators (IIOs) to comply with rule 13 of the Water Market Rules 2009. The ACCC encourages IIOs to determine their transformation application fees in accordance with these guidelines.
Guideline on Goods and Services Tax and Termination Fees
This guideline is to assist Irrigation Infrastructure Operators to charge GST on termination fees in compliance with the Water Charge (Termination Fees) Rules 2009 and the Australian Consumer Law.
Guideline on treatment of bulk water charges
These guidelines assist irrigation infrastructure operators to comply with the Commonwealth Water Rules (water charge rules and the water market rules).
Guidelines on amendments to the water charge termination fees rules & the water market rules
These guidelines assist irrigation infrastructure operators (IIO) to comply with the 2012 amended Water Rules (the Water Charge (Termination Fees) Rules 2009 and the Water Market Rules 2009.
A guide to the Water (Infrastructure) Rules - publishing & non-discriminatory charging requirements
This guide is aimed at infrastructure operators in the Murray Darling Basin. It is intended to help these operators develop and implement processes and practices necessary to comply with publishing requirements under the Water Charge (Infrastructure) Rules 2010 (WCIR). This guide deals with the requirements of Parts 2, 3 and 4 of the WCIR; that is, the publication and non-discriminatory charging requirements under tier 1.
A guide to the water charge infrastructure rules: distribution triggered price approvals or determinations - the part 7 rules
This guide assists Part 7 infrastructure operators to develop and implement processes and practices necessary to comply with Part 7 of the Water Charge (Infrastructure) Rules 2010 (WCIR).
The guide deals with distribution triggered price approvals or determinations under Part 7 of the WCIR and only applies to member owned operators that pay a distribution to their related customers (but not other customers) and provide services in relation to more than 10GL of water access entitlements.
A guide to the water charge (infrastructure) rules: Pricing application for Part 6 operators - October 2011
The Water Charge (Infrastructure) Rules 2010 (WCIR) relate to water infrastructure fees and charges levied by bulk water and irrigation infrastructure operators in the Murray-Darling Basin.
This guide provides details on the recommended contents of a pricing application to be submitted by a Part 6 operator to the ACCC where the ACCC is the regulator.
Pricing principles for price approvals and determinations under the Water Charge (Infrastructure) Rules 2010 (WCIR) - July 2011
This guide sets out relevant aspects of the methodology to be followed by the regulator in conducting price approvals or determinations and the rationale for the ACCC’s positions.
The aims of the pricing principles outlined in this guide are to:
- achieve consistency in the approach where different regulators are responsible for price approvals or determinations across states. Accredited state agencies are required to follow these pricing principles as a condition of accreditation
- provide greater certainty to regulated operators about the approach that the regulator will adopt in approving or determining charges under Parts 6 or 7 of the Water Charge (Infrastructure) Rules 2010.
ACCC enforcement guide to water rules
This guide assists water sector participants to understand the ACCC’s approach to enforcing the Water Act 2007 (Water Act) and the Water Rules. It explains the ACCC’s role, how it will respond to possible contraventions of the Water Rules and the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 and the enforcement options available.
Information for governments
A guide to the Water charge (planning and management information) rules
This guide helps to comply with the Water Charge (Planning and Management Information) Rules 2010 (Rules) and it explains:
- what water planning and water management activities are
- what types of charges for water planning and water management activities will be regulated
- who the Rules will apply to
- what information is to be published under the Rules
- when the information must be published including how the transitional period will operate
- where the information must be published.
Water trading, brokers and exchanges
Water brokers & exchanges - your fair trading obligations
This publication helps brokers and exchanges understand their fair trading obligations under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (the CCA) when dealing with irrigators.
Water trading - an overview
This brochure provides an overview of the things that should be considered when using water exchanges or water brokers.
Water trading - a guide to your rights
This is a comprehensive guide that will assist irrigators to understand their fair trading rights when dealing with brokers and exchanges. The guide includes:
- tips for irrigators when looking for a broker or exchange
- examples of conduct that is likely to contravene the CCA
- information about remedies and penalties for breaches of the CCA
- steps to resolve a dispute with a broker or exchange.