Apr 10, 2016

3 years of inaction on High Speed Rail

Tomorrow marks three years since the Labor Government released a feasibility study into High Speed Rail showing that a link between Brisbane and Melbourne via Sydney and Canberra is viable and would revolutionise interstate travel.

In that time the Coalition has done nothing to progress High Speed Rail for Australia, instead cutting $54 million allocated by the former Labor Government for a High Speed Rail Authority to begin work protecting the corridor.

Failure to start planning for High Speed Rail now will make the project more expensive in the future. Acquiring the corridor before it is built out by urban sprawl and progressing planning should be a priority for the Commonwealth.

But the Government has refused to bring on debate for my High Speed Rail Authority Private Members Bill which has been before the Parliament since 2013 and has lapsed due to the Government’s extraordinary actions to prorogue the Parliament.

I will be reintroducing the High Speed Rail Authority Bill on April 18.

Last month at the Sydney Institute I announced that the High Speed Rail Authority will call for international expressions of interest for the construction of High Speed Rail utilising expertise from countries already successfully employing the technology.

High Speed Rail would not only serve our capital cities but would turbo charge regional economic growth and jobs along the route including the Gold Coast, Casino, Grafton, Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, Taree, Newcastle, the Central Coast, Southern Highlands, Wagga Wagga, Albury-Wodonga and Shepparton.

Once fully operational it could carry approximately 84 million passengers each year, with express journey times of less than three hours between Melbourne and Sydney and Sydney and Brisbane.

High Speed Rail would be an economic game changer for Australia. The government should just get on with the job.