Hunter Valley rail network access undertaking

The ACCC regulates the Australian Rail Track Corporation’s Hunter Valley rail network through a voluntary access undertaking.

What the ACCC does

  • We regulate the Hunter Valley rail network through a voluntary access undertaking.
  • We carry out a compliance process every year to assess recovery of revenue.

What the ACCC can't do

  • We don’t set the prices or provide access to the rail network.
  • We don’t direct the Australian Rail Track Corporation.
  • We don’t set technical standards for the rail industry.

About the Hunter Valley rail network

The network is mainly used to transport coal

The Hunter Valley rail network is in the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales. The full title of the undertaking document is the Hunter Valley Coal Network Access Undertaking.

The network is mainly used to transport coal:

  • from mines in the Hunter Valley region to the Port of Newcastle for export
  • to domestic customers, such as power stations.

It is also used by non-coal traffic, including:

  • general and bulk freight services, such as grain
  • passenger services.

The provider is the Australian Rail Track Corporation

The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) manages the Hunter Valley rail network.

It is a rail infrastructure provider that:

  • was formed out of a 1997 inter-governmental agreement between the Commonwealth of Australia and the states of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia
  • is vertically separated, providing ‘below-rail’ services, such as the rail track infrastructure, but not ‘above-rail’ services, such as haulage
  • provides a single contact for parties wanting to run trains on the Interstate rail network and the Hunter Valley rail network in New South Wales.

Hunter Valley rail network regulation and undertaking

About the access undertaking and regulation of the rail network

Access for coal producers and customers to the Australian Rail Track Corporation’s Hunter Valley rail network is regulated through a voluntary access undertaking.

Access undertakings allow infrastructure owners and operators to give other parties access to their infrastructure services. Undertakings are one method to facilitate access to services under the national access regime and are described in Part IIIA of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.

The access undertaking covers the terms and conditions of access to the Hunter Valley rail network.

Current version of the access undertaking

We accepted Australian Rail Track Corporation’s access undertaking on 29 June 2011.

Since we accepted the first undertaking in 2011, we have accepted numerous variations to the undertaking.

The current version is:

Current undertaking application projects

See a complete list of rail projects.

There are currently no undertaking application projects.

Past undertaking application projects

Past applications to vary or extend the 2011 undertaking

This is a list of past projects considered by the ACCC. It includes applications submitted by the Australian Rail Track Corporation to vary or extend an existing Hunter Valley rail network access undertaking.

Title Industry Type Status
March 2021 variation of the 2011 Hunter Valley Coal Network Access Undertaking Rail Access variation Finalised
2 June 2021

On 30 March 2021, the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) submitted a new variation application for the current Hunter Valley Coal Network Access Undertaking. The ACCC published its Final Decision to consent to ARTC's 30 March variation application on 2 June 2021.

December 2020 variation of the 2011 Hunter Valley Coal Network Access Undertaking Rail Access undertaking Withdrawn
30 March 2021

On 23 December 2020, the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) applied to the ACCC to vary the Hunter Valley Coal Network Access Undertaking. On 30 March 2021, ARTC withdrew its 23 December 2020 variation application and submitted a new variation application.

September 2018 variation of the 2011 Hunter Valley Access Undertaking Rail Access variation Accepted
29 November 2018

On 28 September 2018, ARTC applied to the ACCC to vary its 2011 Hunter Valley Access Undertaking.

December 2017 variation of the 2011 Hunter Valley Access Undertaking Rail Access variation Withdrawn
27 July 2018

On 21 December 2017, ARTC applied to the ACCC to vary its 2011 Hunter Valley Access Undertaking.

June 2017 variation of the 2011 Hunter Valley Access Undertaking Rail Undertaking variation Accepted
29 June 2017

On 6 June 2017, ARTC applied to the ACCC to vary its 2011 Hunter Valley Access Undertaking.

Extension of the 2011 Hunter Valley Access Undertaking (to June 2017) Rail Undertaking variation Accepted
23 November 2016

On 18 October 2016, ARTC applied to the ACCC to extend the term of its 2011 Hunter Valley Access Undertaking by a further six months to 30 June 2017.

Extension of the 2011 Hunter Valley Access Undertaking (to December 2016) Rail Undertaking variation Accepted
22 June 2016

On 20 May 2016, ARTC applied to the ACCC to vary its 2011 Hunter Valley Access Undertaking to extend the term of the undertaking by six months to 31 December 2016.

ARTC advices on reviews Rail Access undertaking Finalised
28 July 2015

These letters from the ARTC document the progress of various reviews related to the 2011 Hunter Valley undertaking.

Final Indicative Services variation 2014 Rail Undertaking variation Withdrawn
7 November 2014

In January 2014, ARTC submitted a proposed variation to the accepted Hunter Valley access undertaking to the ACCC for assessment. The proposed variation relates to the determination of the efficient train configuration and associated indicative charges.

Gap to Turrawan variation 2014 Rail Undertaking variation Accepted
25 June 2014

On 28 June 2013 ARTC submitted a request to vary its 2011 undertaking to the ACCC.

Hunter Valley non-TUT performance incentives variation 2012 Rail Undertaking variation Withdrawn
24 Dec 2012

On 24 December 2012, ARTC withdrew its proposed non-TUT related performance incentives variation.

Hunter Valley initial indicative services variation 2012 Rail Undertaking variation Accepted
17 Oct 2012

ARTC lodged a variation request on 7 September 2012 which the ACCC consented to on 12 October 2012.

Initial indicative services variation 2011 Rail Undertaking variation Withdrawn
15 Aug 2012

ARTC lodged a variation request on 2 December 2011 which was then withdrawn on 15 August 2012.

Previous undertaking applications

The following lists previous Hunter Valley rail network access undertaking applications submitted by Australian Rail Track Corporation.

Title Industry Type Status
Hunter Valley Access Undertaking 2017 Rail Access undertaking Withdrawn
8 May 2017

On 9 December 2016, ARTC submitted the 2017 Hunter Valley Access Undertaking (2017 HVAU) to the ACCC for assessment pursuant to Part IIIA of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. This access undertaking is for the provision of access to the Hunter Valley Rail Network operated by ARTC in New South Wales.

Hunter Valley Access Undertaking 2016 Rail Access undertaking Withdrawn
15 June 2016

On 23 December 2015, ARTC submitted an access undertaking to the ACCC for assessment pursuant to Part IIIA of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (the Act). The access undertaking is in relation to the provision of access to the Hunter Valley Rail Network operated by ARTC in New South Wales.

Hunter Valley Access Undertaking 2011 Rail Access undertaking Accepted
29 Jun 2011

ARTC lodged an access undertaking application for the Hunter Valley Rail Network with the ACCC.

Hunter Valley Access Undertaking 2010 Rail Access undertaking Withdrawn
23 Jun 2011

In September 2010, ARTC submitted a proposed access undertaking to the ACCC for assessment. The proposed access undertaking was to cover the terms and conditions of access for parties seeking to run trains on ARTC's Hunter Valley Rail Network in New South Wales.

Hunter Valley Access Undertaking 2009 Rail Access undertaking Withdrawn
21 Apr 2010

On 23 April 2009, ARTC lodged an access undertaking application for the Hunter Valley Rail Network with the ACCC for assessment.

Annual compliance assessment

About the annual compliance process

The Hunter Valley rail network access undertaking requires the Australian Rail Track Corporation to submit documents to the ACCC for a compliance process every year.

The ACCC assesses whether:

  • the Australian Rail Track Corporation has complied with the financial model and pricing principles specified in the undertaking
  • there has been any under or over recovery of revenue from users that needs reconciling.

The compliance is process is carried out under section 4.10 and Schedule G of the Hunter Valley Coal Network Access Undertaking 2011.

Current compliance assessments

See a complete list of rail projects.

Title Industry Type Status
Hunter Valley rail network annual compliance assessment 2021 Rail Compliance assessment Ongoing

ARTC has provided its indicative Constrained Coal Customer Unders and Overs Estimate and True-Up Test Audit report for 2021, ahead of its formal annual compliance submission (expected in late 2022).

Hunter Valley rail network annual compliance assessment 2019 and 2020 Rail Compliance assessment Under assessment

ARTC submitted its annual compliance documentation for calendar years 2019 and 2020 to the ACCC for assessment on 26 November 2021.

Past compliance assessments

Title Industry Type Status
Hunter Valley rail network annual compliance assessment 2018 Rail Compliance assessment Finalised
10 August 2021

On 10 August 2021, the ACCC released a final determination for the period 1 January to 31 December 2018. The ACCC's final determination is that ARTC's revised submission from 17 June 2021 is in accordance with all requirements under the HVAU. The submitted true-up test audit is also in accordance with HVAU requirements.

Hunter Valley rail network annual compliance assessment 2017 Rail Compliance assessment Finalised
25 September 2020

The 2011 Hunter Valley Coal Network Access Undertaking (2011 HVAU) requires the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) to submit documentation to the ACCC for the purposes of an annual compliance assessment.

Hunter Valley rail network annual compliance assessment 2016 Rail Compliance assessment Finalised
23 December 2019

The 2011 Hunter Valley Access Undertaking requires Australian Rail Track Corporation to submit documentation to the ACCC for the purposes of an annual compliance assessment.

Hunter Valley rail network annual compliance assessment 2015 Rail Compliance assessment Finalised
5 April 2019

The 2011 Hunter Valley Access Undertaking (2011 HVAU) requires ARTC to submit documentation to the ACCC for the purposes of an annual compliance assessment.

Hunter Valley rail network annual compliance assessment 2014 Rail Compliance assessment Finalised
31 March 2017

The accepted Hunter Valley Access Undertaking requires ARTC to submit documentation to the ACCC for the purposes of an annual compliance assessment.

Hunter Valley rail network annual compliance assessment 2013 Rail Compliance assessment Finalised
6 June 2016

The accepted Hunter Valley Access Undertaking requires ARTC to submit documentation to the ACCC for the purposes of an annual compliance assessment. Section 4.10 and Schedule G of the undertaking requires the ACCC to determine whether ARTC has complied with the financial model and pricing principles specified in the undertaking and whether there has been any under or over recovery of revenue from users that needs to be reconciled.

Hunter Valley rail network annual compliance assessment 2012 Rail Compliance assessment Finalised
24 March 2014

The Hunter Valley Access Undertaking (HVAU) accepted by the ACCC on 29 June 2011 requires ARTC to submit documentation for the purposes of an annual compliance assessment conducted by the ACCC.

Hunter Valley rail network annual compliance assessment 2011 Rail Compliance assessment Finalised
5 Apr 2013

The ACCC carried out a compliance assessment and determined that ARTC has complied with pricing principles specified in clause 4.10 of the undertaking for the period 1 July 2011 to 31 December 2011.

See also

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