Rail review extends time for submissions

26 Mar, 2015 01:00 AM
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CBH Group and Brookfield Rail, which have been in dispute over long-term access for grain trains to the State's freight rail network, now have more time to finalise their submissions to a review of the rail access code.
CBH Group and Brookfield Rail, which have been in dispute over long-term access for grain trains to the State's freight rail network, now have more time to finalise their submissions to a review of the rail access code.

ORGANISATIONS and individuals planning to make submissions to a review of the access code governing the State's freight rail operations have more time.

The Economic Regulation Authority (ERA), the independent regulator of access to the freight rail network controlled by Brookfield Rail, announced on Thursday last week that it had extended the deadline for submissions for two weeks, until 4pm on Monday, April 6.

An ERA spokesman said the deadline was extended in response to requests from potential submitters.

Normally, if there were one or two requests for extra time, the ERA would allow them but because there had been many requests, it was decided to grant everybody extra time by extending the submission period, the spokesman said.

So far, no submissions have been received on the third review of the Railways (Access) Code 2000 announced on February 20.

"But that's not unusual, they (submissions) usually all come at the last minute," the spokesman said.

The ERA is required to conduct a statutory review of the access code - established in conjunction with a 49-year lease of the freight rail network to Brookfield - every five years.

It has published a 23-page issues paper on its website but submissions can be on any aspect of the code.

Some of the issues raised by the ERA on its website were first raised in the previous review but have not been addressed.

The CBH Group and Brookfield have previously said they intend making submissions to the review.

They have been in dispute since December 2013 over a proposed long-term agreement under the code to allow rail contractor Watco Companies WA to run CBH's three-year-old $175 million fleet of locomotives and purpose-built grain wagons on the freight rail network.

CBH and Brookfield are due this month to begin arbitrator-directed negotiations on rail access, including access to more than 500 kilometres of speed and load-restricted Tier 3 grain lines which Brookfield placed into care and maintenance on June 30.

The Wheatbelt Railway Retention Alliance and WAFarmers are expected to make submissions.

Submissions should be marked to the attention of the assistant director - rail at either publicsubmissions@era.wa.gov.au

or PO box 8469, Perth BC, WA 6849.

They will be available for public viewing on the ERA website after April 6.

The ERA hopes to present its review report to Treasurer Mike Nahan in July.

FarmWeekly
Mal Gill

Mal Gill

is wool and dairy writer for Farm Weekly

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