Aurizon Network operates the rail network that transports coal from various mines in Central Queensland to a number of ports on the east coast. Access to the network is regulated by an access undertaking, approved by the Queensland Competition Authority. In December 2017, the Authority issued a draft decision in respect of a draft access undertaking submitted by Aurizon Network for the network (known as UT5). A few days after release of the draft decision, it was announced that the then Chair of the Authority, Professor Roy Green, had been appointed as Chair of the Port of Newcastle. Aurizon Network sought judicial review in respect of the draft decision, on the basis that Professor Green’s role at the Port of Newcastle gave rise to an apprehension of bias.
Members of Level Twenty Seven Chambers acted for each of the parties involved. The Queensland Competition Authority was represented by Shane Doyle QC and Michael May. Aurizon Network was represented by Damian Clothier QC (with Edward Goodwin). The coal producers were represented by Michael Trim (led by Patrick O’Shea QC).
The full case background and details of the judgment can be reviewed in this summary article.