The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is reviewing the regulatory settings for the interstate rail network, which is made up of approximately 6,000km of track across five states, extending from Kalgoorlie in Western Australia to Acacia Ridge in southern Brisbane.
The interstate rail network is used by general freight services in the manufactured goods sector, bulk freight services in the mining and agricultural sectors, and long distance and regional passenger services.
Access to the network is provided by the government-owned company, the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC). The ACCC accepted the current regulatory settings for the interstate rail network in 2008, and they are due to expire in 2023.
The consumer watchdog is now seeking users’ inputs on the need to regulate the network based on the level of competition it currently faces.
ACCC Commissioner Anna Brakey said the ACCC also wants to understand ‘how future market and policy changes may impact the need to regulate’.
“The interstate rail network is a critical piece of national infrastructure and we are taking a fresh look at whether and how it should be regulated,” Ms Brakey said.
“It is important that the regulatory framework for the interstate network protects users by preventing ARTC, as a monopoly, from exercising market power. We also want to ensure the framework will be appropriate in the longer term, not just for now.”
She said the ACCC would like to hear from a wide range of stakeholders, including rail operators, freight forwarders and businesses that move freight via rail.
“This review gives us an opportunity to consider the regulatory framework from the ground up. We look forward to engaging with stakeholders across the rail freight value chain and hearing their insights,” Ms Brakey concluded.
Interested parties have six weeks to respond to the issues paper. The issues paper and information about making a submission is available at The regulatory framework for ARTC’s interstate network. Further information is available at ARTC Interstate Access Undertaking.