QR Network outlines access conditions for GAP rail project

Queensland Rail (QR) Network has submitted an updated draft of the access conditions for the state’s new coal rail network to the Queensland Competition Authority (QCA).

The 2010 Draft Access Undertaking document describes the conditions all Queensland-accredited train operators, including QR coal and freight services and Pacific National Queensland, must meet to have guaranteed access.

The submission also outlines increases to the usage tariffs for the railway.

The QCA will now consult with industry representatives before making its decision.

If approved, the conditions will come into affect from the 1 July this year and will operate for four years.

The new set of rules include new reporting obligations as well as strengthened anti-discrimination provisions and auditing measures.

According to QR Network, the reporting obligations will provide a greater level of operational detail and transparency and will allow operators to asses the quality of the service they are receiving.

QR Network executive general manager Michael Carter said the new document is based on feedback to the original draft conditions, which were submitted 18 months ago.

“Following extensive consultations with the QCA and industry representatives, we have listened to the issues raised and agreed to strengthen the already robust safeguards that guarantee open access to the rail network,” he said.

Carter said the increases to the current tariffs included in the new document were due to a “changing operating environment.”

The current tariffs were established in 2005.

“Things have substantially changed since then and the proposed tariffs reflect that, as well as the very significant investment of recent years,” he said.

“On average, the increase in access fees is between 28 cents and $1.20 per tonne, depending on the haulage route.

“However, prices for coking coal and thermal coal were recently more than $200 per tonne and $95 per tonne.”

The railway will be part of the $1.1 billion Goonyella to Abbot Point (GAP) project.

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