Mar 10, 2016

Labor to work toward expressions of interest on High Speed Rail

A Labor Government will establish a High Speed Rail Authority to work through a process for gathering international expressions of interest over the construction of a High Speed Rail link between Brisbane and Melbourne via Sydney and Canberra.

Labor’s push to advance this visionary project will end three years of Coalition inaction on High Speed Rail, which would revolutionise interstate travel and turbo charge regional development.

A feasibility study completed in 2013 found the project would be viable, with the Sydney to Melbourne leg expected to return more than $2 in economic benefit for every dollar invested.

And an expert panel led by former Nationals Leader Tim Fischer and the Business Council of Australia’s Jennifer Westacott recommended creation of a planning authority to work with the Queensland, NSW, Victoria and ACT governments to advance planning and begin to acquire the corridor before it is built out by urban sprawl.

Despite the former Labor Government allocating $54 million to establish the Authority, the incoming Abbott Government scrapped the idea. The Coalition has since refused to facilitate debate of the Private Member’s Bill on the matter which I introduced into Parliament in December, 2013.

A Labor Government will create the Authority and, once it is established, work through a process for gathering any expressions of interest.

High Speed Rail is a proven technology. Around the world millions of people travel using it every day.

Almost every example of well deployed High Speed Rail involves a partnership between government and the private sector.

Companies based in Japan, China, Korea and Europe have experience in constructing and operating successful High Speed Rail projects and we should use that expertise.

High Speed Rail would allow for travel between capital cities in as little as three hours.

It would also drive economic development of regional communities on 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.

High Speed Rail stacks up. We just need a government with the vision to get the ball rolling.