The Essential Services Commission is the Regulator for South
Australia's Intra-State Rail Access regime as set out in the Railways(Operations and Access) Act 1997 and South Australia's Rail access regime as set out in the AustralAsia Railway (Third Party Access ) Act 1999.
The Commission assumed this role from March 2004.
This role had previously been assigned to the Executive Director, Transport
The South Australian Rail Access Regime applies
to railway services as defined under the ROA Act. This covers the Adelaide Metro
broad gauge network within metropolitan Adelaide, the Genesee and Wyoming (GWA)
lines in the Murray-Mallee, Mid-North and Eyre Peninsula, and the Great Southern
Railway passenger terminal at Keswick.
The Railways (Operations and Access) Act 1997 assigns
the following specific functions to the Commission:
monitoring and enforcing compliance with Part 3
(general rules for conduct of business) of the Act;
monitoring the costs of rail services under the
making an application to the Supreme Court for
appointment of an administrator where a rail operator becomes insolvent, ceases
to provide railway services or fails to make effective use of the infrastructure
of the State;
establishing pricing principles;
establishing requirements for information about
access to rail services and determining the price to be charged for such
conciliation of access disputes and referral of
disputes to arbitration;
fulfilling any other functions and powers
conferred by regulation under the ROA Act.
The Commission has released an Information Kit, explaining the principal features of the Access Regime under the Act
and communicating the pricing principles, information brochure requirements and
reporting requirements established by the Commission.
Operation of the 1,420 km Alice Springs-Darwin
railway began in January 2004. The railway operator also controls the existing
830km Tarcoola-Alice Springs railway. Together, the Tarcoola-Darwin railway
connects Darwin's East Arm Port to Australia's interstate standard gauge rail
Arrangements for access to the Tarcoola-Darwin
railway are provided under the AustralAsia Railway (Third Party Access) Code
(the Code), which is a Schedule to the AustralAsia Railway (Third PartyAccess) Act 1999 (SA & NT). The access regime in the Code has been
certified as an effective State regime in accordance with section 44N of the
Trade Practices Act 1974. Details of the certification process can be
found on the National Competition Council (NCC) website.
Clause 5 of the Code appoints the Commission as
the regulator under the Code. In particular, the clause authorises the
Commission to exercise and perform the powers and functions of the regulator
under the Code for the purposes of both the law of South Australia and the law
of the Northern Territory.
The Code applies to the whole of the railway
between Tarcoola and Darwin, pursuant to a joint ministerial notice published
in January 2004. The Commission has the power to conciliate an access dispute
and/or arrange for arbitration.
The Commission has developed four guidelines
under the Code.