Access Undertakings

Access undertakings increase certainty for all parties and minimise the potential for access disputes to arise by establishing the principles that will guide negotiations.

The owner of a facility that provides declared services or services which may be declared can submit an undertaking to the Queensland Competition Authority for approval. Once the Authority has accepted an undertaking, it must resolve any disputes in accordance with its terms, although parties can depart from the terms of the undertaking if they agree to do so. Conduct of the owner that is in accordance with an approved undertaking will be deemed not to breach the preferential self-dealing provisions of the Queensland Competition Authority Act 1997 .

Before accepting a draft undertaking, the Authority must publish it and consider submissions made by interested parties. The Authority must also consider the legitimate business interests of the owner, the interests of those seeking access and the public interest. The Authority may take into account any other matters it regards as relevant.

Content of Access Undertakings

The content and specifications of undertakings will vary from service to service. The Queensland Competition Authority Act sets out a number of issues that may be addressed in an access undertaking, including:

  • how charges for access to the service are to be calculated;
  • information to be given to access seekers;
  • information to be given to the Authority, or another person;
  • an obligation on the owner to comply with decisions of the Authority or another person about disputes stated in the undertaking;
  • information to be given to the Authority about compliance with the undertaking and performance indicators stated in the undertaking;
  • information to be given to access seekers;
  • time frames for providing information in the conduct of negotiations about access to the service;
  • how the spare capacity of the service is to be worked out;
  • the regulation of secondary markets;
  • accounting requirements to be satisfied by the owner and a user in relation to the service or separate parts of the service;
  • ring-fencing arrangements;
  • terms relating to capital contributions and extensions to a facility;
  • requirements for the safe operation of the facility;
  • how contributions by users to the cost of establishing or maintaining the facility will be taken into account in calculating charges for access to the service;
  • provisions to be included in access agreements in relation to the service; and
  • review of the undertaking.

 

See Industry pages for details of actual access undertakings.