Miners welcome rail review

THE Queensland Resources Council (QRC) has welcomed the Queensland Government’s announcement of a major structural review of Queensland Rail (QR).

Responding to a recent announcement by Premier Peter Beattie, Chief Executive Michael Roche said all Queenslanders had a stake in seeing the emergence of the most efficient business model for QR’s continuing development as one of the world’s largest bulk freight operations.

“Across the Queensland resources sector, this positive flow-on from the findings of Stephen O’Donnell’s Goonyella coal supply chain review will be seen as a welcome development,” Roche said.

“The Queensland Resources Council is a long time advocate of structural reform of QR to encourage a stronger focus on providing a superior service to its customers, which in terms of bulk freight, comes down to maximising shipments at the lowest long term cost.

“In particular, QRC has been promoting with government and the QR Board an end to the vertical integration of QR’s monopoly below-rail and contestable above-rail services.

“From a customer perspective, one of the advantages of this separation is that regulation of the below track returns on investment would become much simpler.

“There would also be a clearer distinction between the static capacity of a rail network and the variable capacity of the rolling stock that use it.

“Separation would enable a clear identification of additional throughput gained from improvements in operating procedures and other above-rail efficiency gains. Clarity about the origins of capacity gains, particularly for an expanding network, would in turn simplify the process of deciding who has access to this capacity and how much they should pay for the access,” Roche said.

Over the past five years, coal companies have directly underwritten investments of more than $3.9 billion in the State’s rail and port capacity and over the next three years, have guaranteed another $2 billion for additional expansions.

This is addition to a forecast $3.4 billion worth of minesite investment between now and 2010.

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