On 12 August 2022, Energy Ministers agreed to take a range of actions, through a staged approach, which is aimed at supporting a more secure, resilient and flexible east coast gas market.
The first stage included quick progression of measures to ensure the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) can manage gas supply adequacy and reliability risks across east coast gas markets in time for winter 2023 and beyond. As a result:
- AEMO’s functions and powers have been extended to enable the market operator to better identify, signal and manage supply shortfalls risks, should they arise
- AEMO will prepare an annual Winter Readiness and Management Plan, and incorporate gas system adequacy risks into their Summer Readiness Plan.
Consultation on the proposed regulatory amendments required for this extension of AEMO’s powers occurred between 26 September 2022 and 21 October 2022. The Bill to give effect to these changes commenced on 27 April 2023, alongside supporting Regulations. The corresponding Rule amendments came into effect on 4 May 2023.
Energy Senior Officials undertook consultation on measures for potential inclusion in Stage 2 of the framework, which will help guide how AEMO delivers its new functions.
Stage 2 of the framework builds on the work carried out in Stage 1 and is considering whether the framework should include a reliability standard, additional monitoring and communication tools and/or more targeted reliability and supply adequacy management tools.
Consultation on stage 2 of the reliability and supply adequacy framework closed on Thursday 13 July 2023 at 5pm AEST.
Energy Senior Officials will also be working on other longer-term reforms including to:
- develop and submit rule changes to improve the flexibility and liquidity of the east coast gas market to respond to demand and supply shocks
- further investigate options to extend a third-party access framework for upstream gas infrastructure and storage facilities to enable more supply to market from smaller producers and improve utilisation of existing infrastructure.
Further information on the package of reforms can be found in the Summary of Measures document (PDF 693 KB).
Gas Working Group
Progress of the reforms will be overseen by the Gas Working Group, which contains representatives from all Australian state and territory governments.
The Gas Working Group continues the work of the former Gas Major Projects Implementation Team (GMPIT). Prior to that, the Gas Market Reform Group (GMRG) was responsible for implementing the 2016 Gas Market Reform Package (see below).
The role of the Gas Working Group is to oversee the delivery of gas market reform priorities set by the Energy Ministers Meeting (EMM), as well as other relevant priorities specifically tasked by the Energy National Cabinet Reform Committee (ENCRC).
The Gas Working Group is also responsible for supporting Energy Ministers in their ongoing role to provide oversight of national gas policy and related regulatory frameworks as articulated in the Australian Energy Market Agreement (AEMA).
Previous Energy Ministers’ work programs
In June 2021 Energy Ministers agreed to a package of priority reforms to unlock new gas supply and improve the functioning of gas markets, including pipeline regulation, to ensure they are operating competitively and in the interests of consumers.
The package was endorsed by National Cabinet in August 2021.
The priority reforms include the following work-streams:
- Accelerate development of the Wallumbilla Gas Supply Hub.
- Review the pipeline capacity trading framework.
- Expedite amendments to incorporate hydrogen blends and natural gas blends.
- Implement agreed pipeline regulation reforms.
- Implement agreed gas market transparency reforms.
Key historical documents
Previous National Gas Market Reforms
National Gas Law Amendment Package January 2017
Gas Market Reform Package August 2016
Gas Supply Strategy December 2015
Australian Gas Market Vision December 2014
Previous National Gas Market Reviews
ACCC Inquiry into the East Coast Gas Market April 2016