WA state parliament began its introduction of a legislative package that is set to overhaul energy regulation and access in the state. The triad of legislation will transfer the regulations of energy from the current state-based regulator, the Economic Regulation Authority, to the national Australian Energy Regulator. Because of the scale of the national regulator, they possess the technical capacity to consistently regulate across Australia’s several jurisdictions. Below is a breakdown of the key purposes of each bill.
Modifies the National Gas Law already adopted in Western Australia under the National Gas Access (WA) Act 2009 to an applied law scheme for regulation of gas pipelines.
Adopts the National Electricity Law to regulate WA electricity networks.
Bill to facilitate the implementation of the previously mentioned Bills.
The bills have been returned to the Legislative Council after the Committee Report was tabled this week. The Report noted that the bills were developed within small time frames leaving a large amount of regulatory intricacies outside the scope of the bills, and delegated to subsidiary instruments to be solely developed by the Executive at a later date. The Committee further found that clauses in the bills authorise the making of regulations that could have the effect of changing the parent legislation, an act that would be done without parliamentary scrutiny. These clauses were not highlighted when the bill was tabled in either the Explanatory Memorandum or the Second Reading Speeches. The Committee recommended the removal of these clauses because in its current form the bills would erode parliamentary sovereignty. If not removed, the Committee recommends the rationale be provided to justify the inclusion of the clauses.
The Committee Report can be read here.
 National Gas Access (WA) Amendment Bill 2016 clauses 12(1)(a)-(c); National Gas Access (WA) Amendment Bill 2016 clauses 6, 7, 11(3)(a), 12(1)(a)-(c), 14(2)(c)-(d).
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