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Submissions on the reform of Victoria's rail access regime have been made publicly available, the Minister for Transport, Peter Batchelor said today [ Vic Govt Media Release 29/10/04]
Mr Batchelor said the rail industry, rail customers and farmers commented on the Government's plan to revamp the access regime to ensure on-rail competition.
"The Department of Infrastructure received more than 30 submissions following the release of the Rail Access Reform Options Paper on 28 July this year," Mr Batchelor said.
"The Options Paper suggested a range of reforms to overcome competition obstacles experienced under access arrangements put in place when the Kennett Government privatised the freight rail network."
"The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has thrown its support behind reforms to access arrangements, after expressing concerns about rail competition in Victoria when investigating the sale of Freight Australia to Pacific National earlier this year.
"The Bracks Government has been a national leader in competition policy and is committed to access arrangements that encourage fair competition between rail operators in Victoria."
Mr Batchelor said it was vital to get the access rules right and ensure sufficient capacity, including terminal space, for other operators to run train services in Victoria, and into the Port of Melbourne
"We want an access regime that complies with national competition principles, and fosters constructive relationships between the access provider, Pacific National, and other rail users," Mr Batchelor said.
"As well as delivering fair and workable competition, the rules should encourage increased use of rail and investment in the rail network.
"We recognise that effective rail access is critical to the success of Victoria's grain and export industries and to freight forwarders."
"Pacific National is encouraging third party rail users to apply for access to the Victorian network and to this end has published interim Track Access Protocols."
Pacific National's Track Access Protocols will operate on an interim basis only, and will be superseded when the conclusions of the Government's Access Review are implemented.
"Submissions are currently being reviewed and further consultation will take place with key parties next month, before details of the reforms are finalised," he said.
Non-confidential submissions can be viewed at http://www.doi.vic.gov.au/freight .
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