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Inland rail a trifecta for Toowoomba region: mayor
THE member for Indi, Cathy McGowan, has again pushed the role she says high-speed rail can play in decentralisation.
But she said it would not happen unless the federal government showed the political will to reserve a rail corridor.
Ms McGowan raised the issue in a wide-ranging budget speech to Parliament on Monday night.
And yesterday she said high-speed rail was the most important infrastructure the government should commit to “in the longer term”.
Such a project would generate energy and drive decentralisation.
It would be the key to development when linked to “world-class mobile phone coverage and internet”.
Albury-Wodonga is a stop on a Brisbane-Melbourne line, costed last year at $63 billion.
Ms McGowan said the private sector could play a major role in decentralisation after the government did the “the infrastructure stuff”.
She said international companies would invest if it was profitable to do so.
“We need the transport and telecommunications infrastructure to make it worth doing,” she said.
Ms McGowan said a big lesson from the Albury Wodonga Corporation years was that the government had invested in infrastructure.
“It made a huge difference to the region and we really did grow,” she said.
Ms McGowan was convinced at least some in government were heeding her message.
“The National Party is listening, more than the government,” she said.
Ms McGowan praised the Deputy Prime Minister and National Party leader Warren Truss for handing Wodonga $10 million to redevelop the city centre.
“It’s going to make a huge difference,” she said.
“Part of my job is to say to the Liberals, put the money on the table and tell us what you’re going to do for regional Australia.”
Ms McGowan said the Liberals would only make it clear whether they were listening in the run-up to the next election.
“I hope this will be a policy election for the people of Indi,” she said.
Ms McGowan is part of a cross-party committee on high-speed rail.
“Everybody in parliament supports it — we’ve just got to the government behind it,” she said.
“It doesn’t need government to do the building.
“The government needs to put in the corridor and do the legislative stuff to allow it take place.”
This article first appeared on www.bordermail.com.au
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