CBH Group says it is bringing in the state’s economic watchdog to mediate the negotiation process with Brookfield Rail over access to grain rail freight lines.

CBH has been negotiating with Brookfield for the past four months to reach a new commercial arrangement to use the lines, with the current rail access deal set to expire in June next year.

General manager of operations, David Capper, said differences in pricing expectations meant an agreement was unlikely to be achieved through the negotiations, forcing CBH to begin the process to bring in the state Economic Regulation Authority to mediate the talks.

Mr Capper said the negotiations to date had been centred on rail access and maintenance standards, as well as the proposed access fees charged by Brookfield.

Brookfield announced early this month that it planned to close two Tier 3 rail lines, between York and Quarading, as well as between Merredin and Trayning, over safety risk concerns due to the lines’ deteriorating conditions.

“We cannot justify entering into an agreement on behalf of the growers of Western Australia that essentially costs more, and significantly more, for access to fewer tracks with diminishing performance,” Mr Capper said in a statement.

“WA growers need to be competitive with other countries where supply chain costs are significantly lower than ours.

“Even domestically, our current cost for track access is higher than any other state in Australia.”