National regulators, market institutions and other bodies
Council of Australian Governments
The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) is the peak intergovernmental forum in Australia. COAG comprises the Prime Minister, state premiers, territory chief ministers and the president of the Australian Local Government Association.
The role of COAG is to initiate, develop and monitor the implementation of policy reforms that are of national significance and that require cooperative action by Australian governments.
National Cabinet and National Federation Reform Council
The National Cabinet is a forum for the Prime Minister, Premiers and Chief Ministers to meet and work collaboratively.
The National Cabinet was established on 13 March 2020 and is chaired by the Prime Minister. The National Cabinet operates according to guiding principles set out in the Commonwealth Cabinet Handbook. The Commonwealth and state and territory governments individually remain responsible for the implementation of decisions arising from the National Cabinet in their jurisdiction.
On 29 May 2020, the National Cabinet agreed to the formation of the National Federation Reform Council (NFRC) and the cessation of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG). The NFRC provides an opportunity for leaders and treasurers across the Commonwealth and states and territories to focus on priority national federation issues.
Ministerial Council on Energy (Energy Ministers)
The Ministerial Council on Energy (MCE) was established by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in 2001 to deliver the economic and environmental benefits for Australia from implementation of the COAG national energy policy framework.
The council is the national policy and governance body for the Australian energy market, providing oversight and coordination of energy policy development. The current form of the MCE is the Energy National Cabinet Reform Committee (ENCRC) and the Energy Ministers' Meeting (EMM)—Ministerial forums for the Commonwealth, Australian states and territories, and New Zealand to work together on priority issues of national significance and key reforms in the energy sector.
Energy Ministers provide:
- national oversight and coordination of policy development to address the opportunities and challenges facing Australia's energy sector into the future
- national leadership so that consideration of broader convergence issues and environmental impacts are effectively integrated into energy sector decision making.
The agreements and legislation that underpin the governance and institutional arrangements for the National Energy Market are available on the Australian Government website.
Australian Energy Market Operator
The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) was established in 2009 and is responsible for the day to day operation and administration of the wholesale National Electricity Market, the wholesale gas market in Victoria and gas short-term trading markets in South Australia and New South Wales and retail gas markets in Queensland, New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and South Australia.
AEMO also undertakes a range of other functions, including:
- preparation of an annual statement of opportunities for the National Electricity Market and gas markets across Australia
- preparation of the Integrated System plan
- operation of the gas trading markets and the gas market Bulletin Board.
Learn more on the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) website.
Australian Energy Regulator
The Australian Energy Regulator, which was established in 2005 and is part of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, is responsible for economic regulation of electricity and gas transmission and distribution and monitoring and enforcement of compliance at a national level with National Energy Market legislation (such as the National Electricity and Gas Laws).
More information is available on the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) website.
Australian Energy Market Commission
The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC), which was established in 2005, is the national rule-making and market development body for the national energy markets.
The AEMC conducts reviews of matters under the national energy legislation either following a direction from Energy Ministers or on its own initiative, including reviewing the effectiveness of competition in energy markets. The AEMC's rule-making role involves managing the rule change process, and consulting and deciding on rule changes proposed by others, including the Energy Ministers.
The AEMC also includes 2 panels:
- the national Consumer Advocacy Panel
- the Reliability Panel.
Learn more on the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) website.
Australian Competition Tribunal
The Australian Competition Tribunal is a review body established under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Commonwealth). A review by the tribunal is a re-hearing or a re-consideration of a matter (albeit on limited material for some reviews). The tribunal may perform all the functions and exercise all the powers of the original decision-maker for the purposes of review. It can affirm, set aside or vary the original decision.
The tribunal's key role in the energy sector is to undertake, on application, judicial reviews of decisions made by the Australian Energy Regulator.
More information is available on the Australian Competition Tribunal website.