Legal action stops QCA in its tracks
THE Queensland Competition Authority has admitted its bid to make a decision on the Aurizon issue has been thwarted by the company's controversial legal action.
A decision was expected to be made on September 20, but that appears to have been delayed until court action in October.
The QCA has already issued a draft decision on how much Aurizon can make on its central Queensland coal network which was $1 billion less than the company submitted and that act led to the company taking dramatic action to restructure its maintenance on the line.
The impact of that action would be a loss of exports of about 20 million tonnes, worth an estimated $4 billion.
Aurizon also started legal action claiming apprehended bias by the then QCA chairman Prof Roy Green who, days after the draft decision, announced he would be taking a position at Newcastle Port, a competitor of Aurizon.
The QCA said it had decided to delay its final decision on Aurizon Network's 2017 draft access undertaking, pending resolution of the judicial review proceedings on its December 2017 draft decision.
"It is disappointing that Aurizon Network has asked the QCA to delay finalising its decision in September 2018,'' it said.
"However, the QCA acknowledges that Aurizon Network continues to pursue its judicial review application.''
QCA notified Aurizon Network that it expected to be in a position to issue its final decision on September 20, but Aurizon opposed that while the case was continuing.
"The QCA considers that there are clear benefits in its final decision being made as soon as practicable.
"However, given Aurizon Network continues to pursue its judicial review application on the draft decision, the QCA has decided to delay making its final decision on Aurizon Network's 2017 DAU until after the Court has made its judgment.
"While regrettable, the QCA considers this approach is nevertheless required at this time. The QCA is confident that it will be in a position to progress a final decision after the Court has made its judgment.''