The Essential Services Commission is responsible for the economic regulation of the rail industry in Victoria. The Commission’s principal roles under the Victorian Rail Access Regime are to assess and approve the access arrangements of access providers and to resolve access disputes.
Access arrangements set out the terms and conditions upon which an access provider will provide access to its infrastructure. Each access arrangement contains a standard access agreement (a proforma contract) which sets out standard terms and conditions (including reference prices) which an access provider and access seeker can agree to. Access providers are required to have a binding access arrangement, approved by the Commission.
The Victorian Rail Access Regime applies only to certain infrastructure that has been declared by the Victorian Government (via a Declaration Order) for access.
There are four rail access providers, namely:
- V/Line – who provides access to the regional below rail network
- Metro Trains Melbourne – who provides access to the metropolitan below rail network
- Pacific National – who provides access to the South Dynon Terminal
- VicTrack – who provides access to the Dynon Intermodal Terminal, as well as some sidings and common user areas in the Dynon precinct
The Commission provides a dispute resolution process to resolve access disputes between access providers and access seekers.