Competition policy background


The National Competition Policy and subsequent agreements by the Council of Australian Governments reflect the significance of effective and efficient regulation of infrastructure industries and ongoing review and improvement of regulation.

In April 1995 the Commonwealth and all state and territory governments signed an agreement to implement the National Competition Policy (NCP) reform package.

The policy is underpinned by three intergovernmental agreements:

  • Competition Principles Agreement;
  • Conduct Code Agreement; and
  • Agreement to Implement NCP and related reforms.

The original agreements are available in the Guide to National Competition Policy - see related publications.

In April 2007, the Council of Australian Governments reaffirmed its commitment to the NCP and updated the Competition Principles Agreement external-link.gif

These agreements commit Australian governments to implement the reforms agreed by the Council of Australian Governments. The National Competition Council was charged with assessing the progress of governments in implementing these reforms between 1995 and 2005.

Continuing reforms

The competition and regulation stream of the COAG Reform Agenda continues many of the processes agreed under the NCP. Among other things, COAG has recommitted to competitive neutrality and revised the intergovernmental agreements.

In February 2006, all jurisdictions signed the Competition and Reform Agreement to provide for a simpler and consistent national approach to the economic regulation of significant infrastructure.

The CIRA calls for action on port regulation, consistent objectives and pricing principles for access regimes and enhanced reporting on competitive neutrality. Victoria has already met these obligations.

As well as some other actions by the Commonwealth, the CIRA required all state-based access regimes to be submitted to the National Competition Council for certification by the end of 2010. Victoria has three regimes:

  • grain handling;
  • intrastate rail; and
  • port channels.

These regimes have been reviewed. The grain handling and port channels regimes have been made inactive and are to be repealed. The Government is considering its response to the review of the intrastate rail regime.

On 29 November 2008, COAG signed an Intergovernmental Agreement (National Partnership Agreement to Deliver a Seamless National Economy).

The agreement includes the 27 deregulation priorities agreed by COAG in March 2008, the eight priority areas for competition reform agreed by COAG in July 2008, and regulatory reform that continues to develop and enhance existing processes for regulation making and review to increase the efficiency of regulation.

Related websites

Contact us

For more information on Victoria's implementation of the NCP, contact:

Gary Stoneham, Assistant Director
Economic Policy Group
Department of Treasury and Finance
Melbourne Vic 3002
Tel: (03) 9651 5111