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Amendments to improve the regulation of WIC licensees

Early 2012, changes were made to the Water Industry Competition Act 2006 (WIC Act) to strengthen and streamline the regulation of licensed schemes and increase customer protection by addressing a number of drafting anomalies, removing duplication and creating new provisions that provide greater certainty for network operator licensees and protect consumers.

The amendments include:

  • three new licensing principles in section 7 of the WIC Act that the Minister is to have regard to when determining licence applications:
    • consistency with the Metropolitan Water Plan or other prescribed government policy documents
    • the potential for adverse financial implications for small retail customers generally arising from the activities proposed to be covered by the licence
    • the promotion of the equitable sharing among participants in the drinking water market of the costs of water industry infrastructure that significantly contributes to water security.
  • greater certainty for network operator licensees to access their infrastructure on private land for the purpose of inspecting, maintaining, repairing and undertaking emergency work on water industry infrastructure. The new provisions confer standard powers of entry to licensed network operators that are prescribed authorities under the Conveyancing Act 1919.
  • greater clarity and certainty regarding the process for price determinations by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal for large monopoly suppliers declared under the WIC Act.
  • rectify a number of anomalies in the WIC Act and Water Industry Competition (General) Regulation 2008.

In addition, an amendment to the Local Government (General) Regulation 2005 removes duplicated approvals with the WIC Act.  Schemes licensed under the WIC Act will no longer require a section 68 approval under the Local Government Act 1993.

The transitional period in the WIC (General) Regulation has been extended to September 2015 for schemes that were previously exempt prior to the introduction of the Water Industry Competition (General) Amendment (Licensing Exemptions) Regulation 2010, to allow any amendments resulting from the WIC Act review to be made.

These amendments were part of the Water Industry Competition Amendment Act 2011 that commenced on 30 January 2012, and the Water Industry Competition (General) Amendment (IPART Pricing Investigations) Regulation 2012 that commenced on 23 March 2012.

For information on more recent amendments go to Water Industry Competition Amendment Act 2014.

For all enquiries related to the amendments, please contact the Metropolitan Water Directorate at waterindustry.competitionact@dpi.nsw.gov.au or on 1800 759 857.