Power & Utilities

Our experienced Power & Utilities legal team regularly publishes articles and updates – the full list of publications appears below. These publications provide a snapshot of the latest legislation, court cases, policy changes and contentious issues. If you'd like to be notified when we add new publications to the site, please go to our subscription page to sign up for email alerts or, alternatively, you can subscribe to our RSS feed.

For publications in other legal areas see our recent publications page.

Power & Utilities Publications

  • Client Update: National Energy Guarantee - development of Emissions Requirement

    3 May 2018

    Following the recent release of the National Energy Guarantee High Level Design Document, Partner Anna Collyer and Senior Associate Karla Drinkwater report on the proposed Emissions Requirement of the National Energy Guarantee, which seeks to lower emissions in keeping with international commitments. This article considers developments in the Emissions Requirement's design since the initial Consultation Paper was released in February 2018, and is part of a series in which Allens examines aspects of the proposed National Energy Guarantee.

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  • Client Update: Preparing for the NEG's Reliability Guarantee - be alert, not alarmed

    27 April 2018

    Following the recent release of the National Energy Guarantee High Level Design Document by the Energy Security Board, Partner Anna Collyer and Associate Mark Leersnyder report on the proposed Reliability Guarantee component of the National Energy Guarantee, which seeks to improve the supply and demand signals being sent to retailers, large energy users, and investors in generation and demand response. This article looks at what retailers, large customers and energy project investors could be doing to prepare for the Reliability Guarantee — if they decide to do anything — and is part of a series in which Allens examines aspects of the proposed National Energy Guarantee.

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  • Client Update: The National Energy Guarantee's Reliability Guarantee and what it means for you

    26 March 2018

    Following the release of the National Energy Guarantee draft design consultation paper by the Energy Security Board, Partner Anna Collyer and Associate Mark Leersnyder report on the NEG's proposed Reliability Guarantee component (which gives a greater role to regulatory institutions to plan and manage electricity supply and demand), and consider some of the risks and opportunities for industry participants, administrators and regulators that may arise from the proposed approach. This is the third of a series of articles in which Allens will examine aspects of the proposed high-level design options for the National Energy Guarantee.

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  • Client Update: The National Energy Guarantee and contracting to achieve compliance

    5 March 2018

    Following the release of the National Energy Guarantee draft design consultation paper by the Energy Security Board, Partners Anna Collyer and Kate Axup and Senior Associate Karla Drinkwater report on the compliance requirements proposed by the Energy Security Board and how contracts already in existence will be treated under the National Energy Guarantee. This is the second of a series of articles in which Allens will examine aspects of the proposed high-level design options for the National Energy Guarantee.

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  • Client Update: National Energy Guarantee - Emissions Requirement

    20 February 2018

    Following the recent release of the National Energy Guarantee draft design consultation paper by the Energy Security Board, Partner Kate Axup and Senior Associate Karla Drinkwater report on key aspects of the Emissions Requirement and its interaction with the existing Renewable Energy Target scheme. This is the first of a series of articles in which Allens will examine aspects of the proposed high-level design options for the National Energy Guarantee.

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  • Client Update: China's National Carbon Market - what to expect

    2 February 2018

    China will soon have the world's largest emissions trading scheme (ETS), according to announcements made late last year by China's state planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). According to the NDRC, China's national ETS will be operating by 2020 and it will initially cover the power sector only. Partner Jillian Button and Associate Shona Shang report on the key aspects.

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  • Client Update: Northern Territory's bold renewable energy target

    11 December 2017

    Recently, the Northern Territory Government released the Roadmap to Renewables report. The report considers how the Government could successfully implement a policy to achieve half of the Territory's energy requirements from renewable sources by 2030. The report indicates that considerable amounts of new, privately funded, renewable energy generation will be required to meet the target. Partner Jodi Reinmuth and Lawyer Alexander Ninkov consider the report's recommendations and the Northern Territory Government's response.

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  • Client Update: National Energy Guarantee

    28 November 2017

    The Energy Security Board recently released a report summarising the results of its modelling of the Federal Government's new energy policy, the National Energy Guarantee. The Energy Security Board's report was considered by the COAG Energy Council at its meeting on 24 November, 2017 and gives an insight into how the National Energy Guarantee will be formulated. Partner Kate Axup and Senior Associate Karla Drinkwater look at COAG's decision making in relation to the National Energy Guarantee, the governance framework proposed for the Guarantee, and how certain states may need to counter possible competition issues.

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  • Paper: Renewables in Vietnam - Opportunities for investment

    17 August 2017

    The demand for electricity in Vietnam is rising rapidly to power its fast-growing economy. In order to meet this demand, the Government of Vietnam is planning for substantial expansion to the national power generation capacity. Renewable energy forms an important part of this vision and is targeted to make up 21 per cent of the overall power capacity and generate 10 per cent of electricity by 2030.

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  • Allens insights: Getting The Deal Through: Boom in renewables

    4 August 2017

    Allens Partners Ben Farnsworth, Michael Ryan and Tim Stewart were part of the global panel analysing the boom in renewables in the Australian project finance market. In Getting the Deal Through's third annual issue focusing on the global project finance markets, Ben, Michael and Tim look at the trends over the past year and what they anticipate unfolding over the next year, including any proposed legal and regulatory changes that may give rise to new opportunities.

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  • Client Update: Finkel Review - System security: its impact on energy investment

    21 July 2017

    While much of the commentary on the Finkel Review has been around a clean energy target, a number of very important, but very technical, issues relating to system security were also canvassed. The Review recognised that system security characteristics should be valued, and regulated, in addition to the amount of energy actually produced. Changes in this area are likely to have the most impact on network operators and solar and wind farm generators seeking to connect to the network in locations where there is limited synchronous generation and low system strength.  

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  • Client Update: Finkel Review - Electricity: Design for a market in transition

    18 July 2017

    In the fifth of our series analysing the Finkel Review, we look at signals for new investment in the National Electricity Market. The Review's responses to this issue reject sweeping changes to the wholesale market structure, but call for more immediate and targeted measures to support the transition of the energy market. Partner Anna Collyer and Law Graduate Maddy Foote assess solutions and opportunities for investment signals in the wholesale market, and the requirement for them to promote reliable, secure and affordable electricity.

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  • Client Update: Finkel Review - Renewables: The importance of regulatory certainty for renewables

    30 June 2017

    In the third of our series analysing the Finkel Review, we look at implications for the renewable energy sector. Two recommendations in particular – the Clean Energy Target (CET) and the Generator Reliability Obligation - raise a number of opportunities and issues for investment in the renewable energy sector. Partner Kate Axup and Associate Danielle Jones report.

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  • Client Update: Finkel Review - Distributed Energy Resources: Unlocking potential and future partnerships

    23 June 2017

    In the second of our series analysing the Finkel Review, we look at Dr Finkel's assessment on the growth of distributed energy resources (DERs) in the Australian energy landscape and his suggestions for future incentivisation and 'orchestration'. These suggestions have raised a number of considerations and opportunities, particularly in relation to the pioneering of business and government programs and partnerships to incentivise DER. Partner Andrew Mansour, Senior Associate Emily Gerrard and Law Graduate Sarah Dobbie report.

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  • Client Update: Finkel Review - Gas: A revolving door or real change?

    20 June 2017

    In the first of our series analysing the Finkel Review, we look at Dr Finkel's assessment on the place of gas in the Australian energy landscape and his suggestions for the creation of 'more efficient gas markets'. These suggestions include both the familiar and the novel, but it is yet to be seen if Dr Finkel's vision of the future will be realised. Partner Igor Bogdanich (view CV) and Lawyer Darcy McLennan report.

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  • Client Update: Finkel: the solution for our energy future?

    13 June 2017

    As the saying goes, 'never let a good crisis' go to waste. The Finkel Review, commissioned after blackouts in South Australia and delivered by Australia's Chief Scientist last week, may prove to be the right report at the right time to garner support for energy and emissions policy positions that could provide investment certainty, regulatory direction and political peace for generations. Our energy experts consider the report's broader implications for Australian business: what questions should business leaders be asking of their teams in a post-Finkel world?

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  • Client Update: Victorian Government proposes reforms to reserve domestic gas production

    7 June 2017

    The Victorian Government has today proposed significant gas market reforms, primarily involving the introduction of a cap on the export of gas from Victoria, in order to facilitate the reservation of domestic gas production for domestic supply. The proposed reforms are aimed at reducing domestic gas prices, preserving jobs in the industry and ensuring the security of supply for Victorian homes and businesses. Partner Igor Bogdanich and Lawyer Darcy McLennan report.

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  • Client Update: ACCC calls for comment on electricity retail supply and pricing

    7 June 2017

    The ACCC has taken the first major step in its inquiry into electricity retail supply and pricing in the National Electricity Market by releasing an issues paper and calling for submissions by 30 June 2017. The issues paper focuses on three broad areas: the pricing, costs and profits of electricity retailers, market structure and retail competition, and retail customers' interaction with the market. Partner Jacqueline Downes and Associate David Mierendorff report.

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  • Focus: Parliament passes diverted profits tax legislation

    31 March 2017

    Legislation to implement a diverted profits tax has passed the Federal Parliament. From 1 July 2017, the tax may potentially apply to the diversion of profits offshore through arrangements between related parties. Targeted at large multinational groups, the diverted profits tax is a fusion of anti-avoidance and transfer pricing rules. Partner Toby Knight and Senior Associate Scott Lang discuss the final form of the legislation and the steps multinational groups should take to prepare for its implementation.

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  • Client Update: Review of climate change policies discussion paper

    28 March 2017

    Following the release of the terms of reference for the 2017 climate change policy review in December 2016, the Federal Government has recently released its climate change policy review discussion paper for public consultation. Partner Andrew Mansour, Senior Associate Emily Gerrard and Lawyer Holly Woodcroft report.

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  • Client Update: Misinterpretation of REC liability exemption leaves islanded generator high and dry

    14 March 2017

    A decision by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal affirming an assessment by the Clean Energy Regulator as to the liability of an off-grid generator under the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 (Cth) highlights the need for liable entities to carefully consider their reliance on the 'small systems exemption'. Partner John Greig and Senior Associate Andrea Moffatt look at the decision which demonstrates the continued complexity facing those operating in the electricity sector.

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  • Allens insights: Trends over the past year in the Australian projects and infrastructure sectors

    8 February 2017

    A substantial pipeline of both private and public infrastructure projects has attracted a variety of local and offshore project finance providers wishing to gain exposure to returns from these attractive Australian investment opportunities. Allens Partners Nick Adkins, Scott McCoy and Rob Watt look at how this is unfolding, the increase in non-bank lenders competing for projects, the various funding models at play, and the opportunities available in the near future.

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  • Client Update: Move to national regulation delayed

    14 November 2016

    As part of the Western Australian Government's electricity market review, legislation was introduced recently into Parliament for Western Australia to participate for the first time in the National Electricity Law from 1 July 2018. However, the Public Utilities Office has confirmed speculation that time has run out for those reforms to be enacted ahead of the election in March 2017. Partner Jodi Reinmuth and Lawyer Alex Ninkov give an overview of the proposed reforms and next steps.

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  • Client Update: Reforming the NWIS

    21 October 2016

    Recently, the Western Australian Government released a report on the Pilbara's electricity infrastructure. The report considers the future regulatory landscape and best practice development of the North West Interconnected System and proposes new rules governing access to the system to promote availability, security and cost of supply. Partner Jodi Reinmuth and Lawyer Alexander Ninkov look at what the report recommends.

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  • Client Update: Paris Agreement on climate change to enter into force before COP22

    6 October 2016

    Overnight, the Paris Agreement met its second and final threshold for entry into force, when the EU lodged its instruments of ratification with the UN. Partner Andrew Mansour, Senior Associate Emily Gerrard and Associate Ellie Mulholland take a brief look at the events this week that triggered the early entry into force of this landmark climate change agreement.

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  • Client Update: New Draft Wind Energy Planning Framework

    8 August 2016

    The New South Wales Government has released its new Wind Energy Planning Framework, with the aim of establishing a more efficient and consistent assessment and approval regime for wind energy projects and also addressing the concerns raised by stakeholders to the 2011 draft Guidelines. The 'buffer zone' focus under the 2011 draft Guidelines has been set aside in favour of a merits-based analysis, which focuses on key issues of noise and visual impact. Partner Paul Lalich, Planning Special Counsel Marcia Doheny and Lawyer Claire Macdonald consider the new Framework and its implications.

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  • Client Update: New wind farm planning code and guideline for Queensland

    19 July 2016

    The Queensland Government has announced a new wind farm planning code that shifts the responsibility for assessing wind farm developments from local governments to the State Government, and provides a consistent approach to assessing wind farms across the State. Partner Bill McCredie, Associate David Thorpe and Lawyer Kate Ah Shay look at the Queensland Government's new role and consider the planning code and supporting guideline.

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  • Special Report: Understanding the opportunities and navigating the legal frameworks of distributed ledger technology and blockchain

    17 June 2016

    Authored by a multidisciplinary team from Allens, Blockchain Reaction is designed to assist business stakeholders, decision makers and in-house counsel across a variety of sectors to understand the technology and how it is being used, as well as navigate the regulatory and legal opportunities and challenges.

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  • Focus: Predictive coding: the future of electronic document production?

    25 February 2016

    A recent decision of the English High Court may pave the way for the use of 'predictive coding' in large scale discovery and regulatory investigations in Australia. Partners Nick Rudge and Duncan Travis, Managing Associate Kate Austin and Associate Emily Giblin look at the benefits and risks of the new software.

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  • Focus: Australia has lifted certain sanctions on Iran

    18 February 2016

    In response to recent confirmation that Iran has met its international nuclear commitments, the Australian Government has lifted all nuclear-related economic and financial sanctions against that country. Partner Rachel Nicolson, Managing Associate Hilary Birks and Associate Sarah Jenkins report on what has changed and the potential opportunities for Australian businesses.

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  • Client Update: Across Australia and to Paris - Recent developments in the nuclear fuel cycle

    23 December 2015

    Partner Richard Malcolmson, Senior Associate Emily Gerrard and Associate Emily Johnstone report on recent developments in the Australian nuclear fuel cycle debate, including: the recent shortlisting of potential sites by the Australian Government for a radioactive waste management facility; the conclusion of the uranium export deal between Australia and India; and potential implications for nuclear energy following the 'COP21' climate change negotiations in Paris.

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  • Focus: COP21 and the Paris Agreement

    14 December 2015

    Over the weekend in Paris, two weeks of negotiations culminated in the adoption by all parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change of a conference decision and Paris Agreement to address climate change. The combined Paris Outcome commits parties to limit global temperature rise to 'well below 2°C' with an aspirational target of a 1.5°C limit. Co-Heads of the Allens Climate Change Group, Andrew Mansour and Emily Gerrard (who attended COP21) provide initial comments on the Paris Outcome below.

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  • Report: Green Bonds: emergence of the Australian and Asian markets

    23 October 2015

    The global market for Green Bonds continues to grow steadily, driven by strong investor demand and the continual need for capital to finance 'green' projects.

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  • Client Update: Environment Minister appoints Wind Farm Committee and Commissioner

    19 October 2015

    Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt has appointed Andrew Dyer as Australia's first National Wind Farm Commissioner and has announced the membership of the Independent Scientific Committee on Wind Turbines. The Commissioner and the Committee will report separately to the Australian Parliament on their progress, with their roles up for review after an initial three-year term. Partner Chris Schulz and Associate Emily Johnstone report.

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  • Client Update: Queensland Productivity Commission inquires into electricity pricing and solar feed-in tariff

    26 August 2015

    The new Queensland Productivity Commission's first two inquiries are into electricity pricing and solar feed-in tariffs. Partner John Hedge and Associate Andrea Moffatt look at the implications for industry.

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  • Client Update: Deal announced on revised Renewable Energy Target

    19 May 2015

    The Federal Government and Labor opposition yesterday announced that they had reached a long-awaited agreement to lower the Renewable Energy Target from 41,000GWh to 33,000GWh. Partner Grant Anderson and Senior Associate Alex Purtill report.

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  • Focus: Federal Government releases Energy White Paper

    13 April 2015

    The Federal Government has released its long-anticipated Energy White Paper, outlining the Government's policy on strategic issues facing the energy sector in Australia. Partner and Government Sector Leader Paul Kenny, Associate Amelia Hanscombe and Lawyer Alexandra Lanyon provide an overview of its key findings and recommendations.

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  • Focus: WA Electricity Market Review - Government says 'yes' to Contestability, but 'no' to privatisation

    27 March 2015

    The WA State Government has rejected recommendations for significant and transformational structural changes to the state's electricity market in response to the recently released Electricity Market Review Options Paper, opting instead for measured and incremental change. Partners Andrew Pascoe and Ben Farnsworth comment on the announced policy agenda, its 'winners and losers' and what we can expect from here in relation to electricity market reform in Western Australia.

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  • Focus: A series of 'firsts' under the National Electricity Law

    3 March 2015

    The Federal Court has issued the first court-ordered civil penalties for breaches of the National Electricity Rules, demonstrating a willingness to apply an 'agreed pecuniary penalty' negotiated by regulators and respondents. This decision is important not just to the energy sector but also to businesses operating in other highly regulated industries. Government sector leader and Partner Paul Kenny and Associate Amelia Hanscombe report.

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  • Client Update: What does the change of government mean for Queensland's energy and resources sector?

    13 February 2015

    With the results of the Queensland election having now been declared and the Labor Party invited to form government (with the support of an independent), Partner Ben Zillmann , Managing Associate John Hedge and Associate Andrea Moffatt look at the key policies announced by Labor before the election that could impact on the energy and resources sector.

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  • Focus: NSW rewrites regulation of private water and sewage infrastructure

    26 November 2014

    New legislation makes important changes to the regulatory scheme applying to private water and sewage infrastructure in NSW. In particular, the reforms change the way in which water infrastructure is approved and licenced by the NSW Government. Partner Andrew Mansour and Lawyer Jerome Entwisle discuss the amendments and impacts on the water industry in NSW.

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  • Focus: Senate passes Emissions Reduction Fund legislation

    10 November 2014

    The Senate has passed legislation for the establishment of an emissions reduction fund to purchase carbon abatement, which also includes a framework for a safeguard mechanism under which large emitting facilities may be penalised for exceeding their emissions baseline. Partner Grant Anderson and Lawyer Daniel Coelho report.

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  • Focus: Victorian Government releases major energy sector statement

    3 November 2014

    The Victorian Government has issued a statement setting out its view of the state's strategic objectives for the energy sector and the Government's energy priorities. Energy, Resources & Infrastructure Partner and Government Sector Leader Paul Kenny, and Associate Monique Donato, provide an overview.

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  • Focus: Potential water infrastructure projects identified by the Commonwealth Government

    22 October 2014

    The Commonwealth Government this week released its Agricultural Competitiveness Green Paper outlining policy ideas for improving water management to meet the future water demands of the agriculture sector. The Green Paper sets out principles for Commonwealth involvement in water infrastructure projects and identifies 27 projects that could warrant possible Commonwealth investment. Partner Kate Axup, Senior Associate Michael Zissis and Lawyer Danielle Atkin report.

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  • Client Update: Major water reform in Queensland to affect all water users with significant changes for the resources industry

    25 September 2014

    The Queensland Government has introduced amending legislation that will significantly reform all parts of water regulation in Queensland. The reform introduces significant streamlining opportunities but also new obligations, particularly for those in the resources industry. Partner Bill McCredie, Special Counsel Philip Murray and Senior Associate Gobind Kalsi report.

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  • Focus: New stormwater licencing in the pipeline

    22 September 2014

    New legislation that seeks to establish a statutory framework for the access to and use of stormwater in Victoria is an attempt to increase the use of stormwater in urban areas and furthers the Victorian Government's policy of limiting the diversion of water from rural areas for urban use. The process to access this alternative water source appears, at first glance, to be straightforward. However, uncertainty still exists. Partner Kate Axup and Lawyer Danielle Atkin report.

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  • Focus: The Warburton Report

    8 September 2014

    The Expert Panel appointed by the Federal Government to review the Renewable Energy Target scheme has recommended changes to it that would severely curtail its operation. Partner Grant Anderson reports.

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  • Focus: Significant review of WA electricity market

    3 September 2014

    The West Australian Government is looking to restructure the WA electricity market and has invited the industry to participate in a significant structural review, which will have a material impact on the Government's privatisation agenda, and the competitive and regulatory environment in which the privatisation of electricity generation or retail assets might occur. The Government has released a discussion paper that raises questions and issues for industry feedback. Partners Andrew Pascoe and Anna Collyer and Lawyer Katherine Glossop report.

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  • Focus: 'Axing the tax' - the end of the Australian carbon pricing scheme

    21 July 2014

    Federal Parliament has passed legislation to repeal the carbon pricing scheme, removing the nationwide impost on greenhouse gas emissions. Partner Grant Anderson and Associate Albert Yu report.

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  • Focus: Budget wrap - significant infrastructure investment and divestment

    24 June 2014

    Following last week's release of the New South Wales and South Australian budgets, it is clear that most state and territory budgets handed down since the Federal Budget have shown an alignment with the Federal Government's national agreement on infrastructure investment and asset recycling. Partner Paul Kenny and Senior Associates Emin Altiparmak and Penny Alexander and look at the implications of the policy.

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