The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has authorised Cockatoo Coal and Stanmore Coal to collectively bargain with the Surat Basin Rail joint venture for access to its new rail line in Queensland.
Once constructed, the Surat Basin Rail Line will connect coal mines in the Surat Basin region to an export supply chain for the first time.
Access to the Surat Basin Rail Line is necessary for coal to be transported to the new Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal being built at the Port of Gladstone, Queensland.
The Applicants are both participating in Stage 2 of the expansion of the Wiggins Island Terminal.
“This decision allows coal miners to conduct more timely and efficient negotiations to secure rail capacity, which is likely to avoid any unnecessary delays in both the construction of Stage 2 of the Wiggins Island terminal and the export of coal through that terminal,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.
Authorisation is granted for 22 years, to cover initial contract negotiations and any long term rail contracts for an initial 20 year term.
Authorisation provides immunity from court action for conduct that might otherwise raise concerns under the competition provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. Broadly, the ACCC may grant an authorisation when it is satisfied that the public benefit from the conduct outweighs any public detriment. Interim authorisation allows the parties to engage in the conduct prior to the ACCC considering the substantive merits of the application.
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