Peter Costello

Media Releases

Productivity Commission Inquiry: Progress in Rail Reform

NO. 073


The Productivity Commission will conduct an inquiry into progress in rail reform and report within twelve months. I foreshadowed this inquiry in my Press Release dated 30 April 1998 announcing the Forward Work Programme for the Commission for 1998.

Australias rail network forms a crucial part of Australias transport infrastructure. Past reforms have delivered significant improvements in the operation of Australias rail systems. However, the pace and nature of the reforms varies between systems. Performances in some areas continue to be below worlds best practice. There needs to be a stocktake of progress in rail reform to identify areas, including both urban passengers and freight, where action is most needed. The Industry Commission last undertook a stocktake of progress in rail reform in 1991.

I have asked the Productivity Commission to report on recent reform initiatives and their implications; the operation of third party access regimes for the interstate and intrastate rail freight networks; the implications of the changing role of the Commonwealth, the States and the private sector in rail operations and ownership; and the implications for rail transport of arrangements affecting competing and complementary modes of transport.

The Productivity Commission will shortly release an issues paper and invite expressions of interest from parties wanting to participate in the inquiry. I encourage all interested parties to make submissions to the Commission and to attend the public hearings.

5 August 1998

Contact Officers:

Alistair Davey
Treasurers Office
(02) 6277 7340

Tony Webster
(02) 6263 3274

Dr John Salerian
Productivity Commission
(03) 9653 2190

5 Aug 1998

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