QCA rail access decision misses deadline

<p>The Queensland Competition Authority [QCA&#93 has extended a draft access undertaking for the state’s rail network until the end of the year because it has been unable to make a final decision before the present undertaking expires.</p> <p>Queensland Rail (QR) last month submitted an amendment to the QCA seeking to extend its present access undertaking to either December 31, or until the QCA makes its final decision.</p> <p>The undertaking sets out the regime for third-party access to the QR-operated network.</p> <p>QR submitted its draft access undertaking in April 2004 to replace the approved 2001 undertaking which is due to expire at the end of this month.</p> <p>But 14 months later no decision has been reached and the QCA has agreed to QR’s request for an extension to the existing undertaking to ensure there is regulatory certainty.</p> <p>"The request for an extension to the expiry date of the 2001 undertaking has been necessitated as the authority is currently assessing additional information provided by QR in support of its 2005 access undertaking," QCA stated.</p> <p>"Consequently the authority does not expect that a replacement undertaking will be in place prior to the expiry date of the current access undertaking."</p> <p>The decision coincides with the release of prime minister John Howard’s taskforce report on infrastructure bottlenecks, which has called for regulatory bodies, such as QCA, to be given just six months to make a decision.</p> <p>If state regulatory bodies cannot make a decision in six months, the matter should be passed to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the report recommends. </p> <br />