The Ports Management Act and Regulations provide a framework for the Commission to make a determination to the charges fixed by a port operator in relation to the provision of prescribed services. The Regulations provide that the determination must use price monitoring of the price levels of a prescribed service as the form of price regulation. 

Notice of Making of a Determination

Prescribed Port Services – Port of Darwin – Final Price Determination

The Utilities Commission of the Northern Territory (the Commission) has issued a final price determination in accordance with section 132 of the Ports Management Act and section 20(1)(a) of the Utilities Commission Act.

The Commission is required by section 17(3) of the Ports Management Regulations to make a determination no later than three months after the appointment of the private port operator. It relates to the charges fixed by the private port operator (Darwin Port Operations Pty Limited) for the provision of prescribed services at the Port of Darwin and the manner in which the Commission will monitor those prices.

The Final Determination is available on the Utilities Commission website or by contacting the Commission on utilities.commission@nt.gov.au or +61 8 8999 5480.

Draft Price Determination

On 17 December 2015, the Commission released a draft determination which the Commission is authorised to make under section 132 of the Ports Management Act and section 20(1)(a) of the Utilities Commission Act. It relates to the charges fixed by Darwin Port Operations Pty Ltd (the private port operator) for the provision of prescribed service at the Port of Darwin.

The Commission is required by section 17(3) of the Ports Management Regulations to make a determination no later than three months after the appointment of the private port operator.

The Commission must provide a copy of a draft determination at least 30 days prior to the making of a final determination to the Minister, the private port operator and other stakeholders the Commission consider would likely be affected by the determination.

The Commission invited interested parties to make submissions on the draft determination by Wednesday 13 January 2016. The Commission intends to issue the final determination by 15 February 2016.

The Commission notes that this is the first determination for the Port of Darwin under the Ports Management Act.

The Ports Management Act requires that a determination cannot have effect for a period of more than three years. The Commission also notes that it must commence a review of Part 11 of the Ports Management Act, including the ongoing need for regulatory oversight and form of regulatory oversight, within two years from the appointment of the private port operator. For these reasons, the draft determination includes a term of three years from the date of commencement.

Section 23 of the Utilities Commission Act makes provision for the Commission to enforce a determination. Section 121 of the Ports Management Act also requires the Commission to report annually to the Minister on any instances of non-compliance by a private port operator with a determination, with such a report to be tabled in the Legislative Assembly.

The draft determination is available here ​or by contacting the Commission office.

Dr Patrick Walsh
Utilities Commissioner
December 2015

Submissions should be directed to:
GPO Box 915
DARWIN NT 0801
Telephone: +61 8 8999 5480
Email: utilities.commission@nt.gov.au

Submissions Received

The Commission recieved two submissions on the Draft Price Determination. One submision was identitfied by the submitting stakeholder as commercial-in-confidence.

Submission – Department of Treasury and Finance

The Commission will consider all submissions prior to making its final determination in February 2016.

Approach to Price Monitoring

To assist the port operator and relevant stakeholders in informing the Commission’s approach to price regulation, the Commission will publish a formal draft Statement of Approach outlining how it will undertake the price monitoring function, including the manner and processes it intends to use. The Commission will consult with the port operator and other relevant stakeholders prior to the finalisation of a Statement of Approach. 

The Commission intends to consult on a draft Statement of Approach to Price Monitoring in early 2016.