The Parer Review (December 2002) – Towards a truly national and efficient energy market

No, this article was not actually posted in December 2002 … it’s a back-dated post to line up with the month in which ‘the Parer Review’ was finalised (I remember it being a hefty bit of Christmas reading that year):

1)  we occasionally do this, so that articles line up chronologically.

2)  it was not until around 2007 or 2008 that WattClarity actually started as a service.


What’s prompted this now is that (on 15th January 2024), Tim Nelson asked around for a copy of the final report for the ‘Parer Review’:



I thought it would be useful to reference it here permanently, so that readers can more easily find it whenever they need in future:

Issues Paper

March 2002 (34 pages)

Final Report

December 2002 (290 pages)

You can download the Issues Paper provided to kick off the process here:


As noted within the report, a four-member panel of experts has been appointed to conduct the Review:

1)  The Panel is chaired by the Hon Warwick Parer, a former Senator, Minister for Resources and senior executive in the energy minerals sector.

… hence the name of the review.

2)  Mr David Agostini, a former engineer and senior executive in the oil and gas industry.

3)  Mr Paul Breslin, a consultant with extensive energy market development and senior public service experience at both Commonwealth and State levels, and

4)  Mr Rod Sims, a consultant providing advice on commercial strategy and organisation issues (and future ACCC Commissioner).


You can download the Main Report ‘Towards a truly national and efficient energy market’ here:


The key findings were:

‘1)  The energy sector governance arrangements are confused, there is excessive regulation, and perceptions of conflict of interest.

2)  There is insufficient generator competition to allow Australia’s gross pool system to work as intended.

3)  Electricity transmission investment and operation is flawed, and the current regions do not reflect the needs of the market.

4)  The financial contracts market is extremely illiquid, in part reflecting large regulatory uncertainty.

… noting this report was finalised (December 2002) only shortly after the (July 2002) launch of dcyphaTrade (which became ASX Energy).  So what would a similar review say now?

5)  There are many impediments to the demand side playing its true role in the market.

6)  There is insufficient competition in the east coast gas market, and too much uncertainty surrounding new pipeline development.

7)  Greenhouse responses so far are ad hoc, and poorly targeted.

8)  The NEM is currently disadvantaging some regional areas.’


Interesting to quickly skim the report and see how enduring some of these challenges are … and, indeed, how they related to the 6 x Strategic Issues I helped to identify for power market operators around the world for the Association of Power Exchanges back in 1997.

About the Author

Paul McArdle
One of three founders of Global-Roam back in 2000, Paul has been CEO of the company since that time. As an author on WattClarity, Paul's focus has been to help make the electricity market more understandable.

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