Western Australia Treasurer Ben Wyatt
Rail Access Reform On Track
Victor P Taffa
- State Government has released a draft decision paper that proposes changes to Western Australia’s Rail Access Regime
- Proposed changes aim to make the Regime operate more efficiently and effectively, while maintaining flexibility for the diverse range of railways in Western Australia
- Stakeholder submissions on the impact of the proposed changes are being sought by February 25, 2019
Western Australian Rail Access Regime (the Regime) provides a regulated pathway for parties to gain access to pre-determined privately-owned railways.
State Government is committed to making sure the Regime works effectively so that Western Australian businesses can transport their products around the State in a timely and cost-effective manner.
“Given the size of Western Australia, it is critical that we can transport goods as efficiently as possible to maximise our competitiveness in international markets. Effective railway access regulation plays an important role in achieving this, particularly for key industries like minerals and grain.” Treasurer Ben Wyatt said.
“We are proposing a set of changes to the Regime that will improve the timeliness and efficiency of the access negotiation process to make sure that Western Australian businesses can transport their goods to market as efficiently as possible, while still ensuring that appropriate incentives for rail infrastructure investment are maintained.”
Reviews of the Regime by the Economic Regulation Authority in 2011 and 2015 highlighted several shortcomings, with considerable concern raised that the Regime is not an effective alternative to private negotiations.
State Government, through the Department of Treasury, has been consulting extensively with stakeholders over the past 12 months on potential reforms to the Regime that will help to make it a more effective alternative when commercial negotiations stall.
Proposed changes aim to make the Regime stronger through greater transparency and more efficient processes. Changes are also proposed to ensure that prices better reflect the condition of each railway and its service potential, while still ensuring railway owners can recover their costs and make a return on their investments.