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In-Depth Focus: High-Speed Rail
In a late-stage election bid, the Federal Opposition has promised to invest over $1 billion for planning works on a High Speed Rail Link along Australia’s east coast, as well as $300 million for Melbourne’s Suburban Rail Loop.
The ALP promised, if elected, to invest $1 billion to begin securing the corridor, which would run between Melbourne and Brisbane via Sydney and Canberra.
Labor said the project would revolutionise interstate travel and regional development in Australia.
High Speed Rail would allow passengers to move between capital cities in as little as three hours at speeds of up to 350km/h.
As a first step toward commencing the project, a Shorten Labor Government will create a High Speed Rail Authority and require it to:
The former Labor government completed a feasibility study for the project in 2013. The study identified a 1,748km route and found the project was viable, and could return more than $2 in public benefit for every dollar invested.
Based on that study, an independent panel including former Deputy Prime Minister, Tim Fischer, and the Business Council of Australia’s Jennifer Westacott recommended creation of a High Speed Rail Authority to advance the project.
Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development, Anthony Albanese, argued the project would be an economic game-changer for communities along its path.
These include the Gold Coast, Grafton, Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, Newcastle, the Central Coast, Southern Highlands, Canberra, Wagga Wagga and Shepparton.
Mr Albanese said High Speed Rail would bring these communities closer to capital cities, allowing for increased commuting while also strengthening the case for regional business investment.
“As Australia’s strong population growth continues in coming years, the already established case for High Speed Rail will become more compelling,” Mr Albanese said.
“If we start to acquire the corridor now, we will protect it from development and thereby minimise costs.”
This article first appeared on infrastructuremagazine.com.au
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