Rail access ruling threatens Qld coal industry: QR

<p>The Queensland Competition Authority’s (QCA) draft decision to reject QR’s proposed 2005 access undertaking would threaten expansion of the state’s coal supply chain, the rail operator warned.</p> <p>The draft access undertaking will set down the terms and conditions for those seeking third party access to QR networks.</p> <p>QR has just submitted its response to the QCA’s July 7 decision, which it warns will undermine certainty in the ongoing development of coal rail infrastructure.</p> <p> "The overarching theme of QR’s response to the QCA is that the draft decision does not reflect an appropriate balance between the public interest, QR’s legitimate business interests and the interests of other access seekers," QR said.</p> <p>The QCA had focused on short-term tariff reductions in the order of 30% that came at the expense of "appropriate investment and regulatory incentives" to encourage the efficient expansion of the central Queensland coal supply chain.</p> <p>"The significant increase in investment and regulatory uncertainty will make it difficult for QR to undertake required capacity expansions and will adversely impact on the medium to long-term growth of the central Queensland coal industry," QR said.</p> <p>But when QCA rejected QR’s 2005 draft access undertaking in July, it was scathing of the way QR had provided "inaccurate or incorrect" information in a "piecemeal manner" &#8211 or in some cases, not at all.</p> <p>"It is against this background that the authority has concluded that, at this point in time, many of QR’s proposals remain largely unsubstantiated and lack supporting evidentiary information, or are not able to withstand rigorous and independent analysis," QCA said.</p> <p>The three key issues that the QCA focused on were:</p> <p>&#8226 Opening asset value for the undertaking period </p> <p>&#8226 Capacity in central Queensland, especially in the Blackwater system and</p> <p>&#8226 QR’s capital expenditure program.</p> <br />