Infrastructure Access & Utility Regulation

Members of our team have worked extensively with linear infrastructure owners, users and financiers in relation to third party access issues concerning railways, electricity networks, gas transmission and distribution pipelines and ports.

Our team leader in this area, Darren Grondal, has been involved in a wide range of third party access issues since 1993. He has acted on third party access issues associated with some of the largest projects and infrastructure in Australia.

We understand the importance to asset owners and buyers of protecting their investments and maintaining efficient operations. We help asset owners and buyers understand Federal, State and Territory third party access laws, such as Part IIIA of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, the National Gas Law, the Electricity Networks Access Regime, and the Western Australian Rail Access Regime. This includes:

  • advising on strategies for assessing and addressing third party access risks and implications at project planning and operation phases
  • the design and implementation of access regimes 
  • preparing access arrangements and other instruments and taking clients through regulatory processes
  • preparing submissions on complex access arrangements and other instruments
  • representation before regulators
  • developing and advising on compliance systems
  • acting in arbitration and court proceedings.

We have market-leading expertise in advising businesses that want to secure or resist access to linear infrastructure. This has included evaluating options for seeking access, acting on access application processes, negotiating and drafting access agreements (such as rail track access contracts, gas haulage contracts and electricity access contracts), representing clients in regulatory review processes and pursuing legal action such as arbitration and court proceedings.

We have extensive experience in access negotiations and disputes, including advising on both access strategy and access contracts.

We also have substantial experience in advising regulated utilities, particularly corporatised Government Trading Enterprises. We have a detailed understanding of the legislation that underpins the operation of GTEs as well as the industry frameworks under which they operate. This includes advising on economic, technical and licensing laws and compliance.