May 2, 2016

Labor re-introduces High Speed Rail Bill

Today I re-introduced to Parliament a Private Member’s Bill that would create an authority to begin detailed planning and corridor acquisition for construction of a High Speed Rail Link from Brisbane to Melbourne via Sydney and Canberra.

A High Speed Rail line down Australia’s east coast would revolutionise interstate travel, allowing people to move 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 leg.

We then appointed an expert panel including former Nationals Leader Tim Fischer, Business Council of Australian chief executive Jennifer Westacott and Australasian Railways Association chief Bryan Nye to review that study.

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.

This is the third time since 2013 I have introduced this piece of legislation. To this point, the Government has refused to facilitate debate.

That is a backward-looking view.

True leadership requires a willingness to think well beyond the current electoral cycle to invest in projects that will deliver economic benefits for decades to come.

A Shorten Labor Government will create a High Speed Rail Authority.

We will also ask the authority to move toward a process of taking expressions of interest from international companies with experience in construction of High Speed Rail to take this visionary project closer to reality.