South Australia starts rail access review

Essential Services Commission to look at competition issues after five years

South Australia starts rail access review


The South Australian rail access review has begun.

Conducted by the State’s Essential Services Commission (ESC), the regular probe into the intrastate access regime is conducted every five years, with the outcome informing a decision to keep it or allow it to lapse on October 30.

Freight services subject to the review include the Genesee and Wyoming (GWA) lines in the Murray-Mallee, Mid- North and Eyre Peninsula though the provision of rolling stock is not part of the review.

The Railways (Operations and Access) Act 1997 (ROA Act) was instituted due to the state’s railway services generally being vertically integrated and the regime instituted to ensure other operators could offer rail services to customers and compete with the owner/operator by obtaining access to the rail network on commercial terms.

Despite the sector having failed to be controversial in the intervening time, the ESC seen no room for complacency.

"To date, the commission has never been referred a dispute arising from an unsuccessful negotiation under the ROA Act," it says.

"This does not mean that the access regime has been successful, as it could be that access seekers are unaware of its presence or are unwilling to test it.

"Gathering evidence from railway users on this matter is an important aspect of the review."

A draft report will be released in May for public consultation, with the final report due in September.

An issues paper can be found here.


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