On 6 March 2018, ARTC submitted the 2018 Interstate Access Undertaking application. This undertaking is intended to replace the 2008 undertaking which was due to expire on 21 August 2018. The ACCC issued a consultation paper seeking stakeholder submissions on the proposed undertaking on 26 March 2018. Submissions to the consultation paper were due on 23 April 2018.
On 22 May 2018, the ACCC sent a request to ARTC to provide further information to assist the assessment of the proposed undertaking. On 20 June 2018, ARTC requested an extension until 6 July 2018 to provide the information requested by the ACCC in its 22 May 2018 notice, which the ACCC accepted. On 7 July 2018, ARTC provided its initial response to the 22 May 2018 information request. The ACCC reviewed ARTC's claims of confidentiality in relation to this response and on 13 September 2018, ARTC provided the ACCC with final versions of its public and redacted response to the 22 May 2018 information request.
On 20 December 2018, the ACCC released its draft decision on the proposed undertaking and invited stakeholders to make submissions on the decision by 18 February 2019.
On 25 January 2019, ARTC withdrew the proposed undertaking from the ACCC's consideration.
ARTC’s undertaking sets out the principles and processes under which ARTC, as an infrastructure provider of rail, will be obliged to provide access to businesses wishing to run trains on ARTC’s interstate rail network.
The interstate rail network covers the mainline standard gauge track linking Kalgoorlie in Western Australia, Adelaide, Wolseley and Crystal Brook in South Australia, Melbourne and Wodonga in Victoria and Broken Hill, Cootamundra, Albury, Macarthur, Moss Vale, Unanderra, Newcastle (to the Queensland border) and Parkes in New South Wales (NSW). Since the 2013 Variation it has also included the South Sydney Freight Line (SSFL). The 2018 Interstate Rail Access Undertaking proposes to include the Queensland Border Loop to Acacia Ridge segment into an expanded Newcastle to Acacia Ridge segment. It also proposes to include the Sydney Metropolitan Freight Network (MFN).
On 25 January 2019, ARTC withdrew its proposed access undertaking for the interstate rail network from the ACCC's consideration.
The ACCC still welcomes submissions on the Draft Decision given its relevance to the development and assessment of a replacement undertaking.