Tarcoola-Darwin Rail Overview
The Essential Services Commission is the Regulator for South Australia's Intra-State Rail Access regime as set out in the AustralAsia Railway (Third Party Access) Act 1999 .
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 network.
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 Party Access) 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.