PCERA appointed recommending authority under Railways Access Code
On 4 December 2015 the Railways (Access) Code 2000 under the Railways (Access) Act 1998 (WA) was amended to make PCERA a recommending authority for the purposes of section 24 of the Code.
Under section 24 of the Code the Economic Regulation Authority (ERA) is to establish panels of persons from which arbitrators are to be appointed to resolve railway access disputes referred to the ERA under section 26 of the Code.
Under section 26 of the Code parties may refer disputes to the ERA where:
- a railway owner has refused to negotiate on a proposal for access to a railway covered by the Code [ss 13, 25(2)(a)];
- there is a dispute about whether a proponent has provided sufficient information about its managerial and financial ability or that its proposed operations are within the capacity of the route or expanded route [ss 14, 15, 18(3), 25(2)(b)]; or
- the proponent and the railway owner have entered into negotiations on the proposal but have not reached agreement on the provisions to be contained in an access agreement prior to the ‘termination day’ fixed by the parties, or have before that day jointly made a determination that the negotiations have broken down [ss 20(2), 25(2)(c)].
The main object of the Railways (Access) Act and Code is to establish a rail access regime that encourages the efficient use of, and investment in, railway facilities by facilitating a contestable market for rail operations.
The railway network subject to the Code is extensive, and covers:
- The Pilbara Infrastructure railway, which is a 260 kilometre track that links port facilities in Port Hedland with mines in the eastern Pilbara; and
- approximately 5,500 kilometres of urban and non-urban routes in WA, owned by Brookfield Infrastructure Partners.
PCERA considers its appointment as a recommending authority for the purposes of the Code is an important step towards facilitating innovative and efficient dispute resolution in energy and resources and in linked sectors, such as transport and supply chain logistics.
14 December 15