Jun 26, 2013

Have your say on High Speed Rail: Submissions close soon

There is less than a week for Australians to have their say on the final report into the feasibility of High Speed Rail down Australia’s east coast.

More than 30,000 people have downloaded the Phase Two report, with more than

174 submissions received in advance of the 30 June deadline.

High Speed Rail has the capacity to change the way Australians live and work, particularly for those living in regions along the route.

Traffic along Australia’s east cost will double to 388 million trips per year by 2065.

This will place enormous pressure on our transport infrastructure and governments, as they look for ways to reduce congestion and improve services for travellers.

Without High Speed Rail, this extra travel will have to be met by existing public and private transport networks, which are already facing capacity and cost constraints.

The final report provides us with a solid basis for an informed public debate about how High Speed Rail could address our transport challenges.

While the cost of the project would be up to $114 billion in today’s dollars, the report found that economic benefit could be as high as $2.30 for every dollar invested.

My department’s High Speed Rail Unit has been consulting along the preferred route with local councils, community groups and industry organisations.

Through Austrade, it has also been meeting with operators and agencies in Europe and Asia.

Feedback received through submissions will help inform future consultation meetings and the work of the High Speed Advisory Group.

One of the most immediate concerns is preserving corridors along the proposed route.

I commend the Australasian Railways Association for hosting today’s forum in Parliament House which is attended by High Speed Rail experts from around the world.

Submissions can be made at www.infrastructure.gov.au/HSR