Oct 15, 2018

Media Release – It’s time for the Morrison Government to get behind High Speed Rail – Monday, 15 October 2018

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

High Speed Rail 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.

According to a leaked list of Coalition budget decisions made but not yet announced, the Morrison Government has already decided to support High Speed Rail after five years of ignoring the project.

However, it has decided to hold back that investment for political purposes, intending to announce it during the coming Federal election campaign.

This Bill represents an opportunity to put the politics aside get High Speed Rail moving now in the national interest.

It would create a High Speed Rail Authority which would immediately begin work to finalise the track alignment and a business case and identify opportunities for private sector involvement.

In 2013 the former Labor Government conducted a feasibility study into the project which found it was viable, producing $2.50 of economic benefit for every dollar invested on the Sydney-Melbourne section alone.

We then appointed an expert panel including former Nationals Leader Tim Fischer, Business Council of Australian chief executive Jennifer Westacott and the late 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 fifth time since 2013 I have introduced this piece of legislation.

To this point, the Government has refused to facilitate debate.

Now is the time to adopt a bi-partisan approach to this important project.