Apr 11, 2013

Final High Speed Rail Study Released

High Speed Rail (HSR) connecting the nation’s East Coast capital cities has the potential to be a game-changer, transforming the way Australians live, work and take holidays.

It also has the capacity to better integrate our regional and metropolitan communities, ease congestion on our roads as well as provide a new foundation for a low carbon, high productivity economy.

Already this technology is being rolled out across the globe with clear economic, productivity, lifestyles and environmental benefits.

That’s why this Federal Labor Government commissioned a landmark study in 2010 investigating HSR in Australia, and today I’m releasing in full the second and final report.

This landmark study fulfils a key 2010 election commitment, and reflects our vision and determination to move Australia and its economy towards a low carbon, high productivity and even more prosperous future.

The report identifies a potential route for HSR between Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane. It estimates the costs and benefits of HSR, and investigates a raft of issues including construction, patronage, environmental, and urban and regional development.

The study concludes that once fully operational, HSR could carry 84 million passengers each year, with express journey times of less than three hours between Melbourne and Sydney and between Sydney and Brisbane. Such a network has the potential to deliver a net economic benefit and generate sufficient revenue to cover its operating and asset renewal costs.

But equally, HSR would be a monumental endeavour, with very real technical, logistical and financial challenges. That’s why we must take a deliberate, thoughtful approach and this report provides a comprehensive analysis on which an informed public debate is now possible.

To this end, I am today initiating a comprehensive program of public consultation and debate on the role HSR could play in Australia’s transport future. As part of this, I am inviting feedback and views on the report and its findings from all interested parties by 30 June 2013.

The full report and feedback forms are available at: www.infrastructure.gov.au/hsr.

My Department’s HSR Unit is also embarking on detailed consultations with industry, local governments and community groups.

I am also establishing a high level HSR Advisory Group to work along with the HSR Unit in directly advising the Government on key industry and community issues arising out of the report.

Attached is the list of members.

Lastly, I have written to the Premiers of Queensland, NSW and Victoria, as well as the ACT Chief Minister, seeking their formal views on the report and nominations to a new Ministerial Group charged with coordinating the next steps for HSR across jurisdictions.

Attached is the list of members.

The report was prepared for the Federal Government by a consortium led by AECOM and comprising Grimshaw Architects, KPMG, Sinclair Knight Merz, Acil Tasman, Booz & Co and Hyder.

High Speed Rail Advisory Group—Membership:

  • Lyn O’Connell (Chair)
    Deputy Secretary, Federal Department of Infrastructure and Transport
  • Tim Fischer AC
    Former Australian Deputy Prime Minister (1996–1999) and former Ambassador to the Holy See (2008–2012)
  • Jennifer Westacott
    Chief Executive, Business Council of Australia and former Director-General of NSW Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources
  • Sue Holliday
    Former Director General of NSW Planning (1997–2003) and current member of the Urban Policy Forum
  • Peter Newman
    Professor of Sustainability at Sustainability Policy Institute of Curtin University and Infrastructure Australia Board member
  • Bob Nanva
    National Secretary, Rail, Tram & Bus Industry Union
  • Jenny Dowell
    President Northern Rivers Regional Organisation of Councils

Ministerial Group—Membership:

  • Scott Emerson
    Queensland Minister for Transport and Main Roads
  • Terry Mulder
    Victorian Minister for Public Transport and Roads
  • Gladys Berejiklian
    NSW Minister for Transport
  • Simon Corbell
    ACT Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development

Click on image for larger version

Infographic representing the stations between Brisbane and Melbourne 


Infographic representing the estimated travelling times between the main city pairs