Application for declaration of the Robe Railway

On 18 January 2008 the Council received an application under Part IIIA of the Trade Practices Act 1974 (TPA) from The Pilbara Infrastructure Pty Ltd for declaration of a service provided through use of the facility comprising the Robe Railway (the Service).

The Council provided its final recommendation on this application to the designated Minister (Hon Wayne Swan MP, Treasurer) on 29 August 2008. The Council found that the application satisfied the criteria for declaration and recommended that the Service be declared. On 27 October 2008 the Treasurer accepted the Council’s recommendation and declared the Service for a period of 20 years.

On 13 November 2008 Robe River Mining Co. Pty Ltd/Rio Tinto sought a review of the Treasurer's decision by the Australian Competition Tribunal.

On 30 June 2010 the Tribunal varied the Treasurer's decision to declare the service for a period of 20 years, limiting the declaration to a period of 10 years commencing on 19 November 2008 and expiring on 19 November 2018.

On 13 August 2010 Rio Tinto and associated entities appealed the Tribunal's decision to the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia. The Full Federal Court handed down its judgment on 4 May 2011, allowing Rio Tinto's appeal. The declaration of the Robe service was set aside.

TPI/Fortescue was granted special leave to appeal to the High Court. The High Court delivered judgement on 14 September 2012, remitting Robe Railway back to the Tribunal to be redetermined according to law.

On 8 February 2013, the Tribunal set aside the Minister's 2008 decision to declare the Robe Railway service.

Available for download under the Outcomes & subsequent events tab are (a) the public version of the Tribunal's 30 June 2010 statement of reasons (including the Tribunal's summary), (b) the 14 May 2011 judgment of the Full Court of the Federal Court, (c) the 14 September 2012 decision of the High Court, and (d) the Tribunal's decision of 8 February 2013.

All inquiries may be directed to or to the Council on (03) 9981 1600.