Local Government

  • Regulatory Framework
  • Competitive Neutrality
  • Financial Incentive Payments Scheme
  • Infrastructure Charges

Local governments throughout Queensland  agreed to participate in the National Competition Policy reform initiative. 

The QCA's role in this respect:

  • overseeing compliance with the principle of competitive neutrality
  • making recommendations to the Queensland Government about financial incentive payments relating to progress in the implementation of agreed reforms.

Under the Integrated Planning Act 1997 (IPA), local governments may establish and levy infrastructure charges to fund trunk infrastructure networks identified in a priority infrastructure plan. The QCA was requested to provide the Minister for Planning with advice regarding the infrastructure charges schedules proposed by certain councils.

Local government business activities in competition with the private sector must not have an advantage over their private sector competitors as a result of their local government ownership or control. If a business has been disadvantaged in this way, it may be able to lodge a complaint against the relevant local government business activity.

Complaints against businesses listed in the Guidelines for Complaints and Applications for Accreditations can be referred to the QCA. Complaints against other businesses should be referred to the relevant council. Read more...

In July 1998, the QCA was directed to examine and report annually on the implementation of competition policy reforms by local governments, and to recommend the levels of payment to local governments under the Local Government Financial Incentive Payments Scheme (LGFIPS). The QCA submitted its final report to the Government in June 2006 which included recommendations for the distribution of unexpended funds based on reforms that went beyond the requirements of the Scheme.

Final payments to councils under the Scheme were made in May 2007. Consistent with the QCA's recommendations, payments to councils totalling $150.2 million were made under the Scheme.

While the Scheme has expired, the states have recommitted to the application of the Competition Principles Agreement to local government, although detailed arrangements have not yet been finalised.

Given our past involvement in monitoring councils' compliance with competition reforms, we anticipate a continued role in respect of the new arrangements.

The QCA has recently been requested to review the infrastructure charges schedules (ICSs) of certain councils.

Where requested by the Minister for Planning, the QCA reviews ICSs submitted by councils. While detailed arrangements are yet to be finalised, the QCA will be required to assess the appropriateness of the establishment costs of the trunk infrastructure and allocation of costs to developers of the assets identified in a priority infrastructure plan (PIP).

Under the IPA, the establishment cost of a trunk infrastructure network comprises the cost of:

  • preparation and ongoing administration of the ICS
  • future infrastructure
  • existing infrastructure.

The IPA and associated guidelines provide that the infrastructure charge must not be more than the proportion of the establishment cost of the network that reasonably can be apportioned to the development for which the charge is stated, taking into account the usage or capacity of the network.