ACCC extends deadline for GRail decision

Australia's competition watchdog has extended the timeline for the sale of Glencore's coal haulage operations in NSW's Hunter Valley, with its final decision now expected by December 15.

The regulator, which is examining separate proposals by major players Aurizon and Pacific National to acquire the GRail business, said it would prefer a new player to enter the market in order to maintain competition.

"An acquisition by Aurizon or Pacific National would essentially be a continuation of the status quo where there are two active players in the Hunter Valley coal haulage market," Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims said in a statement of issues released on Thursday.