Euan Morton

Principal

Euan founded Synergies in 2004.

Euan’s astute advice is repeatedly sought by clients due to his understanding of their interests and industries, his desire to advance those interests and his reputation for quick, effective and innovative solutions.

Euan has been appointed to numerous expert panels, including the COAG Energy Council 2015 Review of Governance Arrangements for Australian Energy Markets and the Queensland Government. Euan has appeared as an expert witness in several cases.

He is accredited as an Independent Expert under the National Electricity Rules and is a member of the Competition and Consumer Committee of the Law Council of Australia. His board memberships include AEIOU (a charity dedicated to providing early intervention for children affected by autism).

Euan has lectured at post graduate and undergraduate level and is a highly sought after presenter on economic issues.

Contact details

Phone: +61 3227 9556

Email: e.morton@synergies.com.au

Euan Morton's Recent Projects

Insight

Spotlight on airport performance

In February, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) released its annual monitoring report of airport performance. The report makes for interesting reading, particularly as it follows last year’s review of economic regulation at Australia’s major airports by the Productivity Commission.

Case study

Asset valuation confusion under Australia’s National Gas Rules

The introduction of the information disclosure and arbitration provisions under Part 23 of the Australian National Gas Rules in August 2017 has resulted in an unsuitable asset valuation methodology, the so-called ‘recovered capital method’ (RCM), becoming the default valuation methodology to be used in arbitrations involving gas pipelines and their users (shippers). This is because it is incompatible with price formation in workably competitive markets, a concept which underpins the objective of Part 23.

The ...

Insight

Driving reform in transport efficiency

The Productivity Commission released its draft report into transport regulatory reform last month. While the PC’s inquiry has found transport reforms over the last decade have lifted freight productivity, more work needs to be done. A new agenda for the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) is recommended, one which targets accelerating existing reforms in infrastructure planning, trials of road user charging and removing regulatory barriers to early adoption of new technologies.

Case study

Arbitrating for more efficient shipping channel services at Newcastle Port

In 2018, the Australia’s competition regulator, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) arbitrated a dispute between Glencore Coal Pty Ltd and Port of Newcastle (PNO) over the charges set by PNO for Glencore’s use of the channel assets at the Port of Newcastle.

Case study

Pricing strategies at Australia seaports

Synergies is a leading advisor in the port sector, working collaboratively with many ports both big and small, city based and regional, bulk and non-bulk, private and government owned, across Australia to refine their pricing strategy to meet their broader objectives. This pricing intelligence is a vital input to ensure that a port is well positioned to meet the challenges of future demand as well as build on the opportunities to secure long term sustainable ...

Insight

ACCC shines spotlight on stevedoring charges

This week’s release of the ACCC’s annual container stevedoring monitoring report represents the latest regulatory snapshot on issues involving access to port terminals. In this latest report, the ACCC continues to have the stevedores’ infrastructure levy charges on its radar.

Case study

Port supply chain costs at the Port of Melbourne

Synergies has extensive experience in examining the costs and incentive structures within various freight supply chains in Australia. We have a depth of knowledge of the economic and commercial structure of supply chains and the way that economic regulation can, and in practice does, impact these supply chains. Most recently we were engaged by Patrick Terminals to prepare an economic analysis of the container supply chain at the Port of Melbourne, to assist Patrick ...

Case study

Promoting efficient pricing for shipping channel services at Newcastle Port

Synergies, acting on behalf of Glencore prepared a series of submissions in 2018 and 2019 setting out the economic rationale for continued declaration of Newcastle Port’s shipping channel. Glencore, is a major user of shipping channel services at Newcastle as a major coal producer and exporter in the Hunter Valley. As such Glencore depends on access to the shipping channel based on reasonable terms and conditions.

Report

The Rate of Return to Apply to ARTC’s Interstate Network

Synergies prepared a WACC report in support of ARTC’s 2018 Interstate Access Undertaking (IAU). Synergies had prepared the previous IAU WACC report in 2008 and has also assisted ARTC with its undertakings for the Hunter Valley coal network. For the 2018 submission, we updated our previous analysis with subsequent developments in regulatory precedent and academic evidence, along with changes in prevailing market conditions, which had moved markedly since 2008. ARTC has since withdrawn its undertaking ...

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Case study

Assessing intermodal competition in non-bulk freight transport

Euan Morton of Synergies was engaged as an independent economic expert by Clayton Utz (representing Pacific National (PN)), in court proceedings initiated by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) who alleged that PN’s proposed acquisition of Aurizon’s intermodal business would substantially lessen competition in the transportation of non-bulk freight.
Synergies examined the relevant market(s) for intercity non-bulk freight services and the effectiveness of road and rail competition and, in particular, the influence of ...

Report

Determining a WACC estimate for Port of Melbourne 2019

The purpose of this report is to provide an estimate of the return on capital for the Port of Melbourne (PoM) for its second regulatory year under the regulatory framework established by the Port Management Act (Vic) 1995 and Pricing Order. To determine an estimate of the return on capital that is consistent with the Pricing Order, the key requirement is that the Port Licence Holder (PoM) must use one or a combination of well-accepted ...

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Case study

Peer Review of the Economic Analysis of the Nullinga Dam Preliminary Business Case

Synergies was engaged by Building Queensland to undertake a peer review of the economic analysis conducted as part of the Preliminary Business Case (PBC) for the proposed Nullinga Dam. The PBC identified an opportunity to expand irrigated agricultural production in the Atherton Tablelands through the supply of medium priority water entitlements from the proposed dam. The report presented to Building Queensland identified critical issues in relation to both the water demand assessment and economic analysis.

...

Case study

Assessing the Economic Value of Bulk Water Infrastructure in Regional Queensland

Synergies was engaged by Queensland Treasury Corporation (QTC), on behalf of the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy (NRME), to develop a methodology to assess the economic value derived from the productive use of water from bulk water infrastructure in regional Queensland. The methodology was also applied to two water supply schemes – the Proserpine River and Nogoa Mackenzie Water Supply Schemes.

Report

The robotics and automation advantage for Queensland

Synergies prepared a report for the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) on the implications of robotics and automation for Queensland. The report highlighted industries and occupations that had much to gain from the successful adoption of robotics and automation through their comparative advantage

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Case study

The Economic Impact of Robotics and Automation

Synergies investigated the implications of robotics and automation for the Queensland economy for the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). The report comprehensively surveyed the international experience of increased automation and found that the Queensland economy was particularly well placed to adapt to and benefit from increased automation.

Case study

Mapping short to medium term shifts in the structure of labour markets

Synergies was engaged by Jobs Queensland to investigate the short to medium term shifts in the structure of labour markets in Queensland and Queensland regions, concentrating upon likely shifts in industrial and occupation employment. Results from the shift-share analysis and regional modelling were to be used by Jobs Queensland to inform labour market scenarios in upcoming detailed investigations.

Case study

Assessing the economic benefits and costs of regulation in Australia’s sugar industry

Synergies was engaged by Canegrowers and the Australian Cane Farmers Association (ACFA) to assess the economic benefits and costs of the Competition and Consumer (Industry Code – Sugar) Regulations 2017 (the Code). The project included a detailed assessment of the sugar industry, the conduct of its participants and the rationale for light-handed regulation of the marketing of raw sugar. The project assessed the Code’s impact on the industry since its implementation in 2017 and the ...

Report

2018 WACC methodology review for WA railway networks

Synergies prepared a submission on behalf of Arc Infrastructure for the Economic Regulation Authority’s (ERA) 2018 WACC methodology review for regulated railways in Western Australia.

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Report

Economic assessment of exclusive licensing of towage services at Port of Gladstone

Gilbert & Tobin engaged Synergies to provide advice in relation to a challenge by its client Svitzer to the Gladstone Ports Corporation’s (GPC’s) intention to maintain exclusive licensing of harbour towage service. Synergies’ advice was an economic assessment of the underlying assumptions and arguments used to support this exclusive towage licencing arrangement, including information disclosed in King & Wood Mallesons’ (KWM’s) submissions and Price Waterhouse Coopers’ (PwC’s) supporting submission.

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Report

Determining a WACC estimate for Port of Melbourne 2018

The purpose of this report is to provide an estimate of the return on capital for the Port of Melbourne (PoM) for its second regulatory year under the regulatory framework established by the Port Management Act (Vic) 1995 and Pricing Order. To determine an estimate of the return on capital that is consistent with the Pricing Order, the key requirement is that the Port Licence Holder (PoM) must use one or a combination of well-accepted ...

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Case study

Assessing the feasibility of the NuWater project

Synergies was engaged by the Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) to undertake a water demand assessment and to assess the economic and financial and commercial feasibility of the NuWater project – a proposal to supply recycled wastewater from treatment plants in South East Queensland to agricultural producers in the Lockyer Valley and on the Darling Downs.

Report

Water demand assessment for the NuWater Project feasibility study

This report presents the results of the economic and financial and commercial analyses of the shortlisted options for the NuWater project, which involves the supply of recycled wastewater from Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) located in South East Queensland (SEQ) for beneficial reuse in the Lockyer Valley and on the Darling Downs. The economic and financial and commercial assessment of the shortlisted options was
undertaken following the completion of a demand assessment for the project. ...

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Report

Economic and financial assessment of the NuWater project

Synergies was engaged by the Queensland Farmers’ Federation to undertake a water demand assessment, a financial and commercial analysis, and an economic analysis of a proposal to supply recycled wastewater from treatment plants in South East Queensland to agricultural producers in the Lockyer Valley and on the Darling Downs. This involved extensive consultation with agricultural producers to firstly establish a demand profile for the water to be supplied by the project and secondly to quantify ...

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Insight

Stevedore infrastructure charges – efficient or excessive?

It’s a topic that generates much debate in Australia’s ports and freight industries. And the debate is not likely to abate any time soon. But can it be resolved? Australia’s two largest stevedores, DP World and Patrick have either introduced or announced further increases in ‘infrastructure charges’ at their container terminals this year, with DP World announcing further increases to its charges at its Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane terminals, from 1 January 2018.

...

Case study

Economic conditions and transport demand

Synergies was engaged by MolinoCahill to provide an independent expert report regarding the current and forecast economic conditions applicable when ARUP prepared its patronage forecasts for the Airport Link toll road in 2008, and how actual economic conditions varied from the forecasts as a result of the GFC.

Case study

Economic analysis of the Lower Fitzroy River Infrastructure Project

Synergies was engaged by Building Queensland to assist with the development of the Detailed Business Case for the Lower Fitzroy River Infrastructure Project. Synergies’ key task was completing an economic analysis of the proposed Rookwood Weir, which will be capable of supplying up to 76, 000 ML per annum for urban, industrial and agricultural use. Synergies also assisted with the preparation of several other chapters of the business case, including the base case, public interest ...

Case study

Valuing the social and economic benefits of urban renewal – Fortitude Valley, Qld

Inner urban redevelopment projects have great potential to deliver multiple benefits for the community. When done well, redevelopment can dramatically improve the amenity and ‘livability’ of an urban centre. In this study, Synergies was engaged by LaSalle Managed Investments to quantify the social and economic benefits of a proposed project to refurbish the Fortitude Valley Railway Station, just outside central Brisbane.

Report

Risk Comparison Between Aurizon Network and Energy and Water Networks

Synergies examined the risk profile of Aurizon Network in order to assess comparability with regulated energy and water networks. The report concluded that, while regulation can modify the impact of commercial and market risks on a business, it cannot fundamentally alter the nature of the market risks borne by a business.

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Case study

Economic and social contributions of Lihir gold mine

Lihir gold mine, located in the New Ireland Province of Papua New Guinea (PNG), is one of the world’s largest gold deposits. Production commenced in 1997 and it is estimated that there is another 31 years of gold reserves remaining at the site. Synergies was engaged by Newcrest, the mine’s owner and operator, to assess how the mine is contributing to the regional and national economies of Lihir and PNG. Both economic and social ...

Report

Western Power’s productivity performance

Synergies has been engaged to undertake productivity analysis of Western Power’s historical operating and capital expenditure using economic benchmarking techniques along the lines of those applied by the Australian Energy Regulator. The results of our analysis are used to form a view on the likely efficiency of Western Power’s expenditure forecasts incorporated in its Access Arrangement 4 (AA4) for the 2017-18 to 2021-22 regulatory period.

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Insight

Navigating a path through the national energy policy morass

The almost weekly major energy policy announcements by State and Commonwealth Governments in recent times brings to mind the old cliche of never letting a good (energy) crisis go to waste. Sadly, the lack of national direction and various recent uncoordinated Government policy announcements to address short term political problems could be laying the groundwork for future crises regarding the security and reliability of Australia’s electricity and gas supplies.

Insight

A tale of two stevedores – infrastructure charges

In recent months, Australia’s two major stevedores have announced increased fees for truck and rail operators accessing major city container port terminals. Such charges have become a regular feature in the Australian stevedoring landscape, much to the ire of land-side operators and other stakeholders.

Case study

Emu Swamp Dam – Agricultural and industrial water demand assessment

Synergies undertook an assessment of the agricultural and industrial water demand that could potentially be met by the proposed Emu Swamp Dam. The analysis was part of the Strategic Assessment of the project, the purpose of which was to inform the decision on whether a Preliminary Business Case was to be taken.

Report

Determining a WACC estimate for Port of Melbourne 2017

The purpose of this report is to provide an estimate of the return on capital for the Port of Melbourne (PoM) for its second regulatory year under the regulatory framework established by the Port Management Act (Vic) 1995 and Pricing Order. To determine an estimate of the return on capital that is consistent with the Pricing Order, the key requirement is that the Port Licence Holder (PoM) must use one or a combination of well-accepted ...

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Insight

How the tables have turned…

At the beginning of 2016, headline figures suggested our economy was growing at a steady pace. Yet the income and wellbeing of Australians was far from rosy – we were in an income recession as deep as the one we experienced in the early 1990s recession.

Insight

The new Victorian Water Regulatory Framework (PREMO)

Victoria will be implementing a new water pricing framework for the next regulatory price review in 2018. The framework will apply to 16 of the State’s urban water businesses and Southern Rural Water [1].

Case study

Survey of strategic issues confronting the Australian rail industry

In 2016, Synergies was contracted by the Australasian Centre for Rail Innovation (ACRI) to undertake an inaugural survey of stakeholder perspectives about the challenges, opportunities, and future strategic directions for the rail industry. The survey was designed to assist in promoting dialogue within the industry and serve as a baseline against which to measure future trends in issues and priorities.

Case study

Providing early intervention to children with autism

Synergies was engaged by the AEIOU Foundation for Children with Autism to assess the impact of providing good practice Early Intervention (EI) to children with autism, focusing on those children with moderate to severe autism. The aim of the advice was to assess what level of funding is required for the delivery of good practice EI and whether that level is met by the funding made available for small group interventions by the National Disability ...

Report

ACRI Industry Stakeholder Survey 2016

Synergies was engaged by ACRI to design and implement a major survey of stakeholders operating in the rail industry. The aim of the survey was to identify stakeholder perspectives about the challenges and opportunities facing the Australian rail industry, together with collecting views about strategic priorities going forward. The survey provided fresh insights about issues and stakeholder concerns. ACRI has published our report on its website and intends to commission a follow up survey to ...

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Insight

Have we finally turned the corner?

Official figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) show that we are finally beginning to recover from the downturn following the end of the mining investment boom. GDP in the June quarter grew by more than 3% over the year, buoyed by exports and government spending.

Insight

COAG Energy Council discusses transformation of the energy sector

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Energy Council met on 19 August 2016 to discuss the transformation of the gas and electricity markets, including the recent energy supply problems in South Australia. The meeting identified a number of significant policy issues facing the energy sector.

Insight

The AER’s Draft Ring-fencing Guideline – is the balance right?

The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has released its Draft Ring-fencing Guideline (the Draft Guideline) and explanatory statement. The new guideline will apply to all electricity Distribution Network Service Providers (DNSPs) across the National Electricity Market (NEM) in terms of their engagement in emerging contestable energy markets.

Report

ACCC Applying Hilmer Principles in a Changing Energy Market 2016

Nearly twenty-five years ago, Hilmer set out a transformative framework for delivering better products and services at lower prices from Australia’s public utilities. At that time, the electricity industry was largely publicly owned, self-regulated, bereft of competition and inefficient. The largest gains to customers were rightly thought to come from measures that would improve productive efficiency.

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Insight

Recent price reviews in the water sector

In June 2016 a number of regulatory pricing reviews in the water sector were finalised. This includes: Hunter Water, Sydney Water and Water NSW (IPART), Melbourne Water and Goulburn Murray Water (ESC); and SA Water (ESCOSA).

Insight

Some simple ways to better understand economic modelling

In our last article on modelling we defended the art of economic modelling. We identified why purchasers, users and readers have an important role in ensuring that the outcomes from modelling are reasonable, transparent and understandable - and how this may even lead to better decision making and better public policy outcomes.

Case study

An economic pricing framework for land freight transport infrastructure

Synergies was engaged by Aurizon to prepare a response on behalf of the Freight on Rail Group (Aurizon, ARTC and Asciano) on the application of an economic pricing framework to land freight transport. The report examined alternative pricing approaches for road and rail freight services, having regard to a number of objectives and principles, and reviewed the economic issues associated with the current PAYGO approach that is used to price heavy vehicles. The report was ...

Insight

Where now with benchmarking?

In its recent decision in the Australian Competition Tribunal (‘the Tribunal’) has just delivered a serious blow to the Australian Energy Regulator’s (‘AER’) use of benchmarking to assess allowable revenues for electricity distributors. Their decision, was in response to an application for merits review of the AER 2015 decisions on the allowable revenues of NSW and ACT distributors.

Insight

Why it feels like a recession despite the growth

Figures released yesterday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) show that real net national disposable income (NNDI) fell by 1.1% over the year. In per capita terms this equates to a whopping 2.4% decline in per capita incomes for every man, woman and child across the country.

Insight

ESC paper heralds a new regulatory pricing model for Victoria’s water sector

The Essential Services Commission (ESC) released a Position Paper that proposes a new model for regulating prices of water services in Victoria.

Insight

Applying Hilmer Principles in Changing Energy Markets

In 1993, the Hilmer Report presented a ground breaking review of national competition policy, establishing the framework for public utility regulation in Australia that has, in large part, defined today’s electricity industry structure. The emphasis of those reforms, particularly in respect of utilities, was to deliver better and lower cost services to customers.

Insight

IPART releases 2016 Draft Determination for Hunter Water

On 22 March 2016, the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) released its draft determination for Hunter Water’s water, wastewater and stormwater drainage services. The draft determination covers a four year period from 1 July 2016. The key aspects are summarised below.

Report

An Economic Approach to Heavy Vehicle Road Pricing Reform

Synergies was engaged by Aurizon to prepare a response on behalf of the Freight on Rail Group (Aurizon, ARCT and Asciano) to the application of an economic pricing framework to land freight transport infrastructure. The report examined alternative pricing approaches for road and rail freight services, having regard to several objectives and principles and reviewed the economic issues associated with the current PAYGO approach to heavy vehicle pricing. Our report emphasised the importance of a ...

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Insight

Australian Competition Tribunal energy merits review decisions

On 26 February 2016, the Australian Competition Tribunal released its decisions in relation to the merits review appeals made by Ausgrid, Endeavour Energy, Essential Energy, ActewAGL, Jemena Gas Networks and the Public Interest Advocacy Centre under the national electricity regulatory framework. The key aspects of the Tribunal’s decisions and its implications are summarised below.

Insight

Corn ethanol – policy lessons from Iowa election

This week electors in the Iowa caucus voted in the primary election for United States (US) presidential candidates. As has historically been the case in Iowa, the issue of Government support for the ethanol industry is at the forefront of contentious policy issues in this election.

Insight

Port of Darwin privatisation triggers new regulatory regime

On 15 October 2015, the Northern Territory (NT) Government announced the successful bidder for the Port of Darwin - Landbridge Group, based in the People’s Republic of China. The deal is $508 million for an 80% stake in the port, which places the full port value at approximately $630, eclipsing analysts’ estimates of a sale price of $300-$500 million. The remaining 20%, currently held by the NT Government, will be sold to an Australian-based investor ...

Insight

QCA Draft Decision: Queensland Rail Draft Access Undertaking

On 8 October 2015, the QCA released its draft decision on Queensland Rail’s (QR’s) most recent draft access undertaking proposal (DAU). This is QR’s first access undertaking since its separation from Aurizon in 2010, and has had a protracted and contentious development process, with QR submitting its first DAU in March 2012 for an intended commencement date of June 2013. This draft decision relates to QR’s May 2015 DAU.

Report

Potential for Increase in Navigation Services Charges at Port of Newcastle

Synergies Economic Consulting was engaged by Glencore to construct some indicative Maximum Allowable Revenue (MAR) scenarios for the Port of Newcastle’s channel assets. The purpose of the analysis was to provide an indication of the likely annual revenue that a regulator would allow under a standard building blocks methodology. As the value of the channel assets is a key driver of the revenue allowance, Glencore has commissioned a high level Depreciated Optimised Replacement Cost ...

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Insight

Business leaders get the wrong end of the stick

Queensland is experiencing tough times. Recently released official figures show the domestic portion of the economy is contracting. However, these figures do not include trade, which is an important part of Queensland’s economy. As a result, they do not show the whole picture. So what do the official figures mean and what can be done to improve Queensland’s prospects?

Report

The Rate of Return to Apply to ARTC’s Hunter Valley Coal Network

Synergies provided an opinion on the appropriate Weighted Average Cost of Capital (WACC) to apply to its Hunter Valley Coal Network (the HVCN) for the purpose of its forthcoming access undertaking review

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Report

An Alternative model for Victorian water businesses

In 2014, the Victorian government reviewed and revised the WIRO, removing the prescriptive approach to water pricing. This allows the ESC significant discretion to decide on the manner, approach and methodology (the pricing approach) used to deliver efficient pricing and service outcomes for Victorian water and sewerage customers. This paper presents an alternative, lighter handed approach to regulating Victoria’s 19 water
businesses.

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Report

Building Blocks Model River Murray Operations

Synergies was engaged by the Murray-Darling Basin Officials Committee (BOC) to develop a building blocks model for River Murray Operations (RMO) based on an assessment of efficient costs, and consistent with the Water Charge (Infrastructure) Rules. Our review was well received by BOC and the Murray Darling Basin Ministerial Council. We made various recommendations relating to improvements to operations, use of future
benchmarking and improvements to data capture and reporting to aid transparency. These ...

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Insight

If money doesn’t make you happy, then you probably aren’t spending it right

People can spend money to buy many sources of happiness, such as living longer and healthier lives and having leisure time, yet the old adage that ‘money can’t buy happiness’ rings true. So why aren’t we like the rational, selfish homo economicus, for whom money always buys happiness?

Report

Impact of green energy policies on electricity prices

Synergies/ROAM Consulting has assessed the costs of green energy policies from 2001-02 to 2013-14 on retail electricity costs, for both small (residential/small business) and large (consumption of greater than 5 gigawatt-hours (GWh) per annum) customers across the mainland National Electricity Market (NEM). This includes thousands of businesses, some that qualify for government assistance under the Renewable Energy Target (RET) and carbon price, and others that do not, such as non-trade exposed manufacturing, dairy farms, office ...

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Report

Public Transport Investment – The Value of Action versus the Cost of Inaction

Synergies Economic Consulting, in partnership with GHD, was engaged by the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) to examine traffic congestion in Australia’s capital cities and the value of action versus the cost of inaction. It focussed on the core solution to alleviating congestion, which is investment in public transport investment, particularly heavy and light rail.

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Insight

Competitive tendering in resource allocation

Market forces can be applied in resource allocation or service delivery decisions by Governments through competitive tendering. The use of cash bidding in the allocation of resource exploration rights provides a current example.

Report

Impact of ceasing sand mining on North Stradbroke Island

Synergies Economic Consulting was engaged by Sibelco to conduct an economic impact assessment of two scenarios for its North Stradbroke Island (NSI) operations. This consultancy is an update of Synergies’ 2011 assessment of the contribution of mining to NSI economic and community and involved using our existing economic model of NSI to model downscaling operation and expanding operations.

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Report

Cost-Benefit Analysis of Providing Early Intervention to Children with Autism

Synergies Economic Consulting was engaged by AEIOU to assist with drafting a submission in response to the PC issues paper that responds to the issues to be addressed in the PC inquiry that were of interest to AEIOU in terms of the impact on its future operations, particularly in relation to the provision of government assistance and the appropriate models for providing childcare and early learning services to children with developmental disabilities.

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Report

Aurizon Network’s Commercial and Regulatory Risks

Synergies provided advice to QR National supporting that a new railway which would connect a mine in the Galilee Basin with the existing Central Queensland Coal Network would provide an integrated (above and below rail) haulage service to its customer/s. The question was raised as to what the implications would be for QRN if the project was instead undertaken under a functional service delivery model in which the various elements were delivered by the relevant ...

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Insight

Is High Price a Rip – off?

An article in the Courier Mail reported that an iconic rock band was charging fans to meet the band at a concert and concluded this was a rip-off. Other examples of supposed rip-offs one will read about from time to time include the price of major sporting event tickets and concert tickets.

What should be done about these “rip-offs”? A little bit of information on the role of prices and how they bring together buyers ...

Report

Review of Labour Cost Escalation Issues under National Electricity Rules

Powerlink has asked Synergies to critically assess and provide advice in relation to the Australian Energy Regulator’s (AER’s) Draft Decision to reject Powerlink’s real labour forecasts for the 2013-17 regulatory control period and substitute its own forecasts generated by its consultant based on an alternative measure of labour costs.

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Report

Economic Costs of Autism Spectrum Disorder in Australia

Synergies Economic Consulting was engaged by the Not for Profit Children’s Lobby Group to undertake a cost-benefit analysis of early intervention for children with autism, Cerebral Palsy, Down syndrome, hearing impairment and visual impairment. The first stage of the project involved undertaking detailed literature reviews on lifetime outcomes across the five disabilities, early intervention treatments commonly employed and also studies assessing the benefits of early intervention.

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Report

AER Estimating a WACC for the APT Allgas Distribution Network

Synergies Economic Consulting (Synergies) has been engaged by the APA Group (APA) to review aspects of the Weighted Average Cost of Capital (WACC) to apply to the APT Allgas Energy Pty Ltd (APT Allgas) gas distribution network as part of its forthcoming review by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER).

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Report

Proposed declaration of Sucrogen’s Herbert River tramway service network

Synergies was engaged by Corrs to assist with the preparation of its submission to the NCC in relation to an access declaration application by the North Queensland Bio-Energy Corporation Ltd (NQBE) in regards to below rail services provided on Sucrogen’s Tramway Service Network in the Herbert River district. Following the release of the NCC’s draft recommendation not to declare the below rail services of the Tramway Service Network, we prepared a supplementary expert report in ...

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Report

ACCC’s Draft Decision re ARTC’s Hunter Valley Coal Network

This report was prepared by Synergies Economic Consulting (Synergies) at the request of the Australian Rail and Track Corporation (ARTC). The report is in response to the ACCC‟s Draft Decision in relation to the Hunter Valley Coal Network access undertaking. We have been requested to respond to four Weighted Average Cost of Capital (WACC) parameters proposed by the ACCC.

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Report

Service Quality Incentive Mechanism for QR Network

QR Network requested Synergies Economic Consulting review the principles underpinning the design of such a regime, and how it might be applied to QR Network, while having regard to its existing incentives and obligations. Our findings are outlined in the attached report.

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Report

Rural Water Pricing Business and Scheme Overview

Synergies was engaged by the Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) to compile a background report to inform the QCA’s investigation of the prices to apply to SunWater’s irrigation customers for the 2010/11 to 2015/16 pricing period. This report involved the analysis of a large volume of pricing and supply-related data provided by SunWater.

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Report

SEQ Water and Wastewater Distribution/Retail Activities

In this report, Synergies provided the Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) with a high level description of the physical and market characteristics of the water supply and wastewater distribution and retail activities in SEQ, and an economic analysis of the issues for access and price regulation. This included an analysis of the potential the three new Distribution Businesses to exercise market power.

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Report

Public Benefit Test of Ban on Success Fees to Lobbyists

Synergies was engaged to assist The Department of the Premier and Cabinet in initiating a public benefit test of the effects on competition of a ban on the payment and receipt of fees to lobbyists contingent on success in the award of Government contracts. A large number of reform options were modelled initially and then refined to a smaller set of preferred options.

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Report

Adjusting for Expected Inflation: Submission to IPART

Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) requested Synergies Economic Consulting (Synergies) to provide an opinion regarding the use of inflation-indexed swaps to estimate inflation. Historically, consistent with other regulators, lPART has applied the Fisher equation to observed yields for nominal Commonwealth Government bonds and Commonwealth Government indexed bonds.

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Report

Review of Coal Supply Chains

Synergies reviewed the role of government in export coal supply chains in Australia which involved a report presenting a detailed description of the coal supply chains and the issues affecting the supply chain performance, and anther report which examined the existing role of government and the status of current initiatives in coal supply chains.

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Report

Benefits of Grain Express

Synergies performed a detailed analysis of the grain supply chain in Western Australia for Cooperative Bulk Handlers (CBH). This analysis involved an assessment of the grain supply chain, mapping the current information and physical flows, identifying the relevant interfaces of the logistics chain and the impediments to the supply chain achieving greater efficiency. The advice culminated in the development of a solution to reform the supply chain in order to overcome these impediments.

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Report

Market Access Report to National Generators Forum

In October 2005, the Ministerial Council on Energy (MCE) directed the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) to consider the requirement for and scope of enhanced trading arrangements in relation to congestion management and pricing in the National Electricity Market (NEM). This investigation is referred to as the Congestion Management Review (CMR).

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Report

WA Gas Supply & Demand – The Need for Policy Intervention

The DomGas Alliance was established to ensure the long term availability and competitiveness of gas to meet the requirements of the WA domestic market. The Alliance considers that the WA domestic gas market has experienced serious market failure with insufficient supply to meet emerging domestic demand and a lack of competition on the supply side.

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