Coal bargainers get green light

A GROUP of Queensland coal miners has gained official blessing to collectively bargain with Dudgeon Point Project Management and QR Network in order to support their coal export programs.
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Dudgeon Point image courtesy of North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation.

Noel Dyson

Carabella Resources, Macarthur Coal, Middlemount Coal, New Hope Corporation and Peabody Energy sought authorisation to collectively bargain with DPPM for access to its Dudgeon Point terminal.

Those miners and Rio Tinto Coal Australia also sought two authorisations to collectively bargain with QR Network for access to below rail infrastructure to service both the DPPM terminal and the coal terminals at Abbott Point.

The ACCC has authorised all three arrangements for 15 years.

This will allow collective negotiations with DPPM and QR Network during the development of the coal terminals. It also will allow the applicants to give effect to any agreements entered into for an initial 10-year term.

Authorisation provides statutory protection from court action for conduct that may otherwise raise concerns under the competition provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.

DPPM’s proposed coal terminal at Dudgeon Point and the coal terminals at Abbot Point are to be export hubs for coal from Bowen Basin and Galilee Basin mines.

Dudgeon Point is about 960km north of Brisbane in the port of Hay Point.

Abbott Point is about 200km north of Dudgeon Point.

In December the ACCC proposed allowing the miners to collectively bargain with QR National over access to its rail network in the Newlands, Blackwater and Goonyella caol rail systems.

Yesterday it announced that proposal had become official.

Acting ACCC chairman Dr Michael Schaper said the ACCC considered the arrangements would result in significant cost savings and help avoid potential delays in the construction of various coal terminals and new coal export earnings.

“The ACCC is satisfied that the voluntary nature of the arrangements, the limited composition of the collective bargaining group and the limited scope of the negotiations will mean any potential detriment is minimal,” he said.