Frydenberg’s Law-Breaking Regulator Helped Dismantle Carbon Laws

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is responsible for dismantling laws that keep the fossil fuel industry accountable. Anthony Klan reports.

THE BOSS of the nation’s infrastructure regulatory monopoly, who engaged in serious illegality that the federal government went to great lengths to cover up, previously helped dismantle liability laws in favor of major fossil fuel infrastructure owners.

National Competition Council (NCC) President Julie-Anne Schafer, who was found to have broken the law by providing more than $40,000 in illegal payments to a fellow NCC boss, previously helped strike down national antitrust laws, has can reveal.

The biggest beneficiary to date has been the Chinese government, which owns 50 per cent of the Port of Newcastle, the world’s largest coal port.

In April last year, Schafer successfully pushed for the removal of long-standing mechanisms that allowed consumers to appeal to the independent Australian Competition Tribunal (ACT) if they were dissatisfied with a decision made by the Federal Treasurer regarding access to monopoly infrastructure.

Schafer also resigned through legislative changes by the Federal Coalition that substantially reduced the powers of the NCC itself, including its ability to provide “independent expert advice” under national gas laws, in favor of major pipeline operators. of fossil gas.

As revealed in January, Schafer, as chairman of the NCC, made more than $40,000 in illegal payments to NCC Commissioner Chris Jose during the two years ending in April 2020.

José is a full-time head of the nation’s media regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

He was paid as a full-time boss at ACMA and at the same time he was paid by the NCC, which is illegal.

On December 3, the Commonwealth Ombudsman completed a year-long investigation into the José payments matter and found that Schafer had violated serious public government laws.

Josh Frydenberg's Dog Act

Schaffer left the NCC after his three-year term ended in December.

Despite Schafer being found to have committed serious illegality as NCC president, in March, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg reappointed her as NCC president for another three-year term.

The NCC is overseen by Frydenberg and Schafer reports directly to him.

Previously, if an entity seeking access to “nationally significant” infrastructure, such as coal terminals, major airports or gas pipelines, was dissatisfied with a minister’s decision, it could request a “merits review” and have the ACT independent will consider the matter.

In April of last year, weeks after Schafer wrote a “submission” calling for the ACT mechanism to be abolished, weeks later, on May 8, the Federal Coalition announced that it would be.

“The Council (NCC)…supports the removal of the ability of parties to request a review of the merits by the Court of the decision of an appointing minister,” Schafer wrote in a “submission” to Treasury.

Anthony Klan is an investigative journalist and editor for The Klaxon. You can follow him on Twitter @Anthony_Klan.

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