Dec 4, 2018

Media Release – Parliament Votes to Support High Speed Rail Authority – Tuesday, 4 December, 2018

Federal Parliament today voted in favour of creating a High Speed Rail Authority to advance plans for a High Speed Rail line from Brisbane to Melbourne via Sydney and Canberra.

I asked Parliament to facilitate debate of my Private Member’s Bill, which would establish a High Speed Rail Authority to advance this visionary project.

My motion was seconded by the Independent MP for Indi, Cathy McGowan.

The House of Representatives supported the motion by 73 votes to 72.

However, because an absolute majority was required, the Government avoided a debate on my Bill.

It is disappointing that the Government fails to understand the potential of High Speed Rail to both revolutionise interstate travel and super charge the regional centres along the proposed route.

At a time of intense population pressure in our nation’s capital cities, we need a genuine decentralisation program that will empower regional centres to absorb some of the pressure of growth.

High Speed Rail would unlock waves of development in communities like the Gold Coast, Casino, Grafton, Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, Taree, Newcastle, the Central Coast, the Southern Highlands, Canberra, Wagga Wagga, Albury-Wodonga and Shepparton.

While the former Labor Government completed a positive feasibility study and commenced initial planning for High Speed Rail, the Coalition has run dead on the project for five wasted years.

Based on the support for action expressed in Parliament today, Prime Minister Scott Morrison should think again and act in the national interest.

The proposed High Speed Rail Authority would be tasked with working on detailed planning with the Queensland, NSW, ACT and Victorian governments.

Critically, it would also begin to preserve the corridor for the project to prevent it being built out by urban sprawl.

Creation of the proposed authority was the key recommendation of an independent panel established by the former Labor Government.

The panel included former Deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer, the Business Council of Australia’s Jennifer Westacott and the late Bryan Nye, who was head of the Australasian Railway Association.