The ERA has undertaken its third review of the Railways (Access) Code 2000. An issues paper was published in February and 11 submissions were received from the public. A further consultation process was held regarding the issues of prescriptiveness of the regime and the asset valuation method, where we received a further 10 public submissions.
The ERA’s draft report was released in September, 2015. The draft report made six recommendations relating to the prescriptiveness of the regime, section 10 of the Code, timeframes in the Code, and information requirements of railway owners and proponents. We received eight submissions from the public.
The final report was provided to the Treasurer in December, 2015 and was made publicly available on our website in February, 2016.
The final report provided 10 recommendations, one of which aims to make the regulation of Brookfield Rail’s interstate services consistent with the regulation of similar services outside Western Australia.
A number of recommendations aim to facilitate more timely negotiated outcomes. One of these is changing the basis for valuation of assets of intrastate services to an ‘established asset base’ approach which takes depreciation into account. This would reduce the number of matters to be settled in negotiation.
The report also recommended that information from access seekers be provided more promptly and information provided by railway owners to be updated more frequently. The report recommended that rail extensions and expansions may be proposed at any time - including prior to the start of negotiations, that merits review of the regulator’s determinations be allowed, and that parties in dispute be involved in the selection of an arbitrator.