Freight Rail Corporation (FreightCorp) was established by the Transport Administration Amendment (Rail Corporatisation and Restructuring) Act, 1996, which divided the former State Rail Authority into four new independent businesses (Freight Rail Corporation, Rail Access Corporation, Rail Services Authority and a new State Rail Authority) The Act was proclaimed to commence on 1 July, 1996.
The principal function of the Freight Rail Corporation was to operate rail freight services. (3) The Corporation could also provide facilities or services that are ancillary or incidental to its principal function and/ or conduct any business (whether or not related to its principal function) that it considered would further its objectives. (4) Its functions were not necessarily restricted to these and could be increased by the State Corporations Act or any other legislation.
The objectives of FreightCorp were as follows:
(a) to operate efficient, safe and reliable freight rail services.
(b) to be a successful business and to this end
(i) to operate at least as efficiently as any comparable businesses, and
(ii) to maximise the net worth of the State's investment in the Corporation,
(c) to exhibit a sense of social responsibility by having regard to the interests of the community in which it operates, and
(d) where its activities affect the environment, to conduct its operations in compliance with the principles of ecologically sustainable development contained in section 6 of the Protection of the Environment Administration Act, 1991 and
(e) to exhibit a sense of responsibility toward regional development and decentralisation in the way in which it operates. (5)
FreightCorp paid a fee to Rail Access Corporation for access to railway lines. From its first year of operation it transported a range of bulk commodities including coal, grain, minerals, cement, petroleum and shipping containers. Additional services included provision of logistical haulage solutions, container storage and short distance road operations (6) Motive Power Company Pty Ltd was established to provide locomotive services for FreightCorp (7)
On 24 August, 2001 the New South Wales, Victorian and Commonwealth Governments jointly announced the combined sale of National Rail Corporation (NRC) and FreightCorp to a single purchaser announcing their intension to call for tenders. (8)
The Freight Rail Corporation (Sale) Act 2001 (Act No 35, 2001) regulated the sale, dissolution, continuing business, distribution of assets and the rights of clients and staff after the sale.
On 31 January, 2002 Freightcorp and National Rail jointly announced that the two companies had been sold to the National Rail Consortium for $1.172bn . National Rail consortium was jointly owned by Toll Holdings and Lang Corporation Limited. The advantages of the sale included the injection of private sector expertise into the rail industry; the opportunity for rail to take a larger share of national freight services; the integration of rail into the existing freight services of the purchasers and upgrading the railway infrastructure between Sydney- Brisbane and Melbourne-Perth. (9)
(1) NSW Government Gazette 5 July, 1996 p. 3795
(2) Transport Administration Act, 1988 Section 19G
(3) Ibid s. 19I (2)
(4) Ibid. s. 19I (3)
(5) Ibid. s. 19H
(6) Report of FreightCorp for the year ended 30 June, 1998 vol1 p. 1 'Profile'
(7) FreightCorp (Controlled Entity) Annual; report, for the year ended 30 June, 1999 p. 2
(8) 'Combined sale of National Rail and FreightCorp underway': Joint Media Release from Victorian Minister for Transport, Commonwealth Minister for Finance and Administration, Commonwealth Minister fro Transport and Regional Services and the NSW Treasurer. 24 August, 2001 p.1
(9) 'Combined sale of FreightCorp and National Rail' Joint Media Release from Victorian Minister for Transport, Commonwealth Minister for Finance and Administration, Commonwealth Minister fro Transport and Regional Services and the NSW Treasurer, 31 January, 2002 p. 1.