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Brookfield Rail says CBH's decision to publish a full page open letter to WA grain growers in rural newspapers is a clear indication the grain handler wants an arbitrator to resolve rail access negotiations.
The letter signed by the CBH Group's general manager operations David Capper begins "2049 - that's the year the Brookfield lease over the WA grain rail network will expire. That means the grain growers of WA could have another 34 years of uncertainty ahead."
Brookfield Rail has an exclusive lease over the state's grain rail network and therefore it is necessary for the two parties to strike a deal if CBH wants to continue to transport grain on rail.
The 90-day negotiating period for a long term rail access agreement under WA's Railway Access Code expires on June 24.
Brookfield Rail CEO Paul Larsen said he was disappointed to learn through an advertisement that CBH was considering arbitration before the negotiating period concludes.
"We've acted in good faith and we're ready and willing to continue negotiations," he said.
"Our view is negotiations should continue and could continue up until that date so that's why we were surprised to see advertising basically saying that arbitration is where CBH wants to go."
The CBH letter reiterates that "price remains the key issue".
Mr Larsen said the pricing structure presented to CBH was a price that would sustain the network without any reliance on government funding.
"We've identified what needs to be done to support the level of access that CBH is seeking on our network and our pricing is well within the bookends established by the ERA (Economic Regulation Authority).
"Importantly our charge represents a very small percentage of the overall commodity value and also a very small proportion of what CBH actually charges for their overall supply chain cost to farmers.
"The reality is the railway network will need ongoing and significant maintenance and investment and there does need to be a revenue stream and a financial stream to support that investment continuing and continuing in the absence of any government investment so that's why we've proposed the solution that we have."
This article first appeared on www.abc.net.au
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