Victorian rail access regime tough but not unworkable: PN

<p>Pacific National has labelled the Victorian Government’s proposed reforms of the state’s rail access rules as "tougher than the existing regime".</p> <p>The company, which became Victoria’s regional track operator when it bought Freight Australia earlier this year, said the proposed new framework will lead to tighter and more prescriptive rules on access.</p> <p>"The framework is not unworkable, but it does create a much more prescriptive environment," PN chief executive Stephen O’Donnell said.</p> <p>"We will be engaging in further consultation with the government around the detail of these recommendations."</p> <p>The Victorian Government released the proposed framework yesterday (Monday, December 14), after receiving more than 30 submissions on a discussion paper on the rail access regime.</p> <p>State minister for transport Peter Batchelor said the framework would lead to further consultation before legislation on rail access is introduced next year.</p> <p>"It provides industry with a clear indication of the legislative proposals envisaged for the upcoming access reforms, and a further opportunity to contribute before the new arrangements are finalised," Mr Batchelor said.</p> <p>The framework makes a number of recommendations for rail access, the first of which enshrines giving passenger services priority over freight.</p> <p>Other recommendations include:</p> <p>The access regime should require the access provider to deliver access services using the railway infrastructure, which it owns or controls, including sidings, yards and some designated terminals</p> <p>This regime will provide a potential access seeker with all the information it reasonably requires to establish a business case for potential freight operations, including potential train paths and access costs and</p> <p>An access provider will be able to recover "its efficient costs of service delivery" but regulated prices should reflect "no more than the standalone costs of service delivery" and no less than the incremental costs to the access provider.</p> <p>The framework paper can be viewed on www.doi.vic.gov.au&#47freight</p> <br />