Rail network access regulation

  • The ACCC has a role in regulating some rail networks. This includes assessing undertaking applications from rail providers to give other parties access to their rail track infrastructure.
  • There are currently 2 access undertakings for rail infrastructure.

What the ACCC does

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

What the ACCC can't do

  • We don’t set the prices or provide access to the rail networks.
  • We don’t set technical standards for the rail industry.

What we do in rail networks

Rail networks are one part of Australia’s transport system. They transport freight and people.

Except for a small number of private railways, most of Australia's railway networks are government-owned at the federal or state level.

The ACCC has a role in regulating some of Australia’s rail networks. We:

  • assess access undertakings for rail infrastructure from providers
  • carry out functions related to the undertakings we have accepted.

About access undertakings for rail infrastructure

The ACCC assesses access undertaking applications by rail network providers.

An access undertaking allows an infrastructure owner or operator to give other parties access to their infrastructure service.

The undertaking covers matters about access to a particular service. It often includes the:

  • terms and conditions under which the provider is willing to offer access
  • price for the service
  • dispute resolution processes if parties can’t agree.

Current access undertakings

There are currently 2 access undertakings for rail infrastructure:

Both undertakings relate to networks operated by the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC). This is an Australian Government-owned statutory corporation.

Applying for a new access undertaking

The process we use to consider a new undertaking:

  • will depend on its circumstances, characteristics and complexity
  • often involves inviting public submissions.

See Access to infrastructure services for the process we follow to assess applications and the time limits for decisions.

Time limits for the ACCC to make a decision are set in the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.

    The legal basis of our work

    The functions we perform to regulate rail come from Part IIIA of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. This is often referred to as the national access regime.

    The national access regime forms the legal basis for third parties to access certain services through major infrastructure facilities. Access undertakings are one method to facilitate access to services under the national access regime.

    Undertakings are described in Part IIIA of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. See Part IIIA access undertaking guidelines.

    See also

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