The Government has agreed to compel the Tribunal to consult with industry, and has placed extensive obligations upon how it will do this.
The Bill requires the Tribunal to prepare and publish a work program for each coming year, which must disclose the areas where the Tribunal is actively considering making an Order in the year ahead. The Bill also compels the Tribunal to consult with industry during the preparation of its draft work program.
An entire Division of the Bill (Division 3) compels the Tribunal to publish any draft Order before it is made and requires the Tribunal to consult on any draft Order it is proposing to make.
This Division also directs the Tribunal to ensure that ‘any party’ who is ‘likely to be affected’ by a draft Order is given a reasonable opportunity to become aware of the proposal, and then requires the Tribunal to allow any interested party to have a reasonable time to make a written submission.
Finally, the Bill expressly authorises the Tribunal to withdraw a proposal to make an Order if consultation leads it to believe this is the best decision.
For an Order that is already in force, the Bill compels the Tribunal to follow all of the above requirements before making any variation to that Order.