The Minerals Council of Australia NT Division (MCA-NT) is supportive of Essential Services Commission of South Australia (ESCOSA) proposed process to assess the relevant revenues of rail services provided by GWA (North) Pty Ltd.

Given that there is no transparency of these revenues, costs or the commercial arrangements underpinning this, MCA-NT’s primary concerns are to ensure that there is an appropriate allocation of revenues and costs between above and below rail services (particularly fixed costs) and that the margin earned by the Access Provider is commensurate with the risk being borne. Further, in the absence of being able to make informed comment stakeholders are relying heavily upon ESCOSA to satisfy itself of the appropriateness of these specific matters.

MCA-NT proposes that the revenues and costs to be assessed include the following:

  • Track infrastructure
  • Train control and communication systems
  • Signalling systems
  • Railway maintenance
  • Railway renewal programs

Moving forward MCA-NT encourages ESCOSA to undertake a broader review of the regulatory regime to ensure it is fit for purpose in the context of the Northern Territory market. MCA-NT believes that the current regulatory framework can be further improved by strengthening certain provisions and adopting similar approaches to other Australian regulatory frameworks as follows:

  • Transparency of information relating to infrastructure providers;
  • Vertical separation and appropriate ring-fencing measures so that any dealings between an infrastructure access provider and any related parties are at arm’s length on conditions which are no more favourable than the conditions offered to unrelated third parties;
  • Amendments to facilitate pricing, capacity and time certainty to access seekers; and
  • Appropriate frequency of regulatory reviews to ensure it is fit for purpose for both access seekers and infrastructure providers and to align with other jurisdictions.

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