About us

Our purpose

The Council of Australian Government (COAG) Energy Council established the Gas Market Reform Group (GMRG) to lead the design, development and implementation of:

  • a new commercial arbitration framework for pipelines that will be underpinned by greater transparency of prices and contract terms, as well as pricing principles;
  • a number of transportation (pipeline and hub services) capacity trading related reforms;
  • the market transparency reforms, which for GMRG involves the development of terms of reference for the biennial review on the growth in liquidity in wholesale gas and pipeline capacity trading markets; and
  • the wholesale gas market related reforms, which primarily relate to the Southern Hub and Victorian Declared Wholesale Gas Market, that the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) is working on.

The AEMC proposed this interlinked suite of reforms in its East Coast Wholesale Gas Markets and Pipeline Frameworks Review Stage 2 Final Report and Dr Vertigan in his Examination of the Current Test for the Regulation of Gas Pipelines. They are designed to promote:

the National Gas Objective, which is to:

…promote efficient investment in, and efficient operation and use of, natural gas services for the long term interests of consumers of natural gas with respect to price, quality, safety, reliability and security of supply of natural gas.

and the Energy Council’s Vision for the Australian Gas Market, which is for

…the establishment of a liquid wholesale gas market that provides market signals for investment and supply, where responses to those signals are facilitated by a supportive investment and regulatory environment, where trade is focused at a point that best serves the needs of participants, where an efficient reference price is established, and producers, consumers and trading markets are connected to infrastructure that enables participants the opportunity to readily trade between locations and arbitrage trading opportunities.

Governance and structure

The Energy Council has appointed Dr Michael Vertigan AC as the GMRG’s independent Chair. This diagram describes the governance structure of GMRG, its work streams, and its relationships with stakeholders. 

View a larger version of this diagram

Our team

Dr Michael Vertigan AC - Independent Chair

Michael (Mike) Vertigan holds a PhD from the University of California (Berkeley) with fields in Economics and Business Administration and an honours degree in Economics from the University of Tasmania with majors in economics and accounting.

For the past twenty years he has held a wide range of public and private sector board and advisory roles in energy, infrastructure, finance and investment including as chair of the Expert Panel for the Review of Governance of Australian Energy Markets, the Expert Panel for NBN Cost-Benefit Analysis and Review of Regulation, the Energy Security Council and the Solar Flagships Council. Michael is a former Secretary of government departments in Tasmania and Victoria and before that held appointments in universities in Australia, USA and Canada.  He is a former Chancellor of the University of Tasmania.

Michael was made a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2004 for contributions to fiscal policy reform, strategic investment and university governance.

Sandra Gamble – Strategic Program Director

Sandra holds a Master of Business Administration and an Bachelor of Engineering with Honours. She has worked across government, the public, private and not for profit sectors with particular experience in market reform, utilities, infrastructure and energy.

Prior to joining the GMRG, Sandra held senior executive roles at Sydney Water and Jemena with accountability for strategy, regulation, public affairs, governance and assurance. In the 2000s Sandra led the introduction of retail competition in gas in New South Wales, prepared a report on the Australian wholesale gas market, and reviewed the state of the New Zealand gas industry.

Katherine Lowe – Senior Technical Advisor

Katherine holds a Master of Applied Finance, a Master of Economics and a Bachelor of Business (majoring in Finance and Economics) and has over 15 years’ experience working as an economist. Katherine has a particular depth of experience in the gas and electricity sectors and has provided expert economic advice on a range of matters, including market design, regulatory frameworks, wholesale gas prices and infrastructure access prices and non-price terms and conditions.

Prior to joining the GMRG, Katherine was involved in the AEMC’s Eastern Australian Wholesale Gas Market and Pipelines Framework Review, the ACCC’s East Coast Gas Inquiry and the AEMC’s Gas Market Scoping Study.

Zoe van der Lee – Legal and Policy Advisor

Zoe holds a Master of Climate Change, a Bachelor of Laws (with honours) and a Bachelor of Environmental Policy and Management.  Having worked for the Commonwealth Department of the Environment and Energy, Zoe has over five years’ experience in energy policy, including in relation to gas, energy market governance and carbon policy.

Prior to joining the GMRG, Zoe supported Dr Vertigan during the Examination of the current test for the regulation of gas pipelines and was involved in developing the COAG Energy Council’s Gas Market Reform Package, responding to the AEMC’s Eastern Australian Wholesale Gas Market and Pipelines Framework Review and the ACCC’s East Coast Gas Inquiry. Previously, Zoe was also involved in the development and implementation of the COAG Energy Council’s Gas Transmission Pipeline Capacity Trading Regulation Impact Statement.