Nov 21, 2016

Bill introduced to kick start High Speed Rail

Today I introduced to Parliament a Private Member’s Bill that would create a High Speed Rail Authority to start detailed planning work on a High Speed Rail line between Brisbane and Melbourne via Sydney and Canberra.

High Speed Rail would revolutionise interstate travel, allowing people to travel between capital cities in as little as three hours.

It would also turbo charge the economic development of the regional centres along its route, including the Gold Coast, Casino, Grafton, Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, Taree, Newcastle, the Central Coast, Southern Highlands, Wagga Wagga, Albury-Wodonga and Shepparton.

The former Labor Government conducted a feasibility study into the project which found it was viable, producing, for example, more than $2 in public benefit for every dollar invested in the Sydney-to-Melbourne corridor.

In response, we appointed an expert panel including former Deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer, Business Council of Australian chief executive Jennifer Westacott and the late Bryan Nye, of the Australasian Railways Association, to recommend practical measures to advance the project.

The panel recommended the creation of a delivery authority to work with the governments of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory on detailed planning and corridor acquisition.

My Private Member’s Bill would establish that Authority.

During the recent federal election campaign, Labor announced we would create the Authority envisaged in this Bill and require it to move toward an expressions of interest process to capitalise on strong interest in the project from international railway companies.

I call on the Government to facilitate debate so we can progress this important nation building project.