Senator for the ACT Kate Lundy, Member for Canberra Gai Brodtmann and Member for Fraser Andrew Leigh have welcomed Prime Minister Rudd’s announcement yesterday that Labor will take the next steps to develop High Speed Rail a major boost to Australia’s transport future.
The Prime Minister announced that if re-elected, Federal Labor will enact legislation to preserve the 1,748 kilometre corridor from Brisbane to Melbourne along which the high speed track will be laid, and will provide $52 million to establish a new High Speed Rail Authority to oversee the delivery of the project.
The proposed east coast network, which will ultimately service two-thirds of Australians, will be built in stages. The first stage will link Canberra to Sydney via the Southern Highlands and be completed by 2030, continuing onto Melbourne via Wagga Wagga, Albury Wodonga and Shepparton by 2035.
Canberrans are excited about the prospect of High Speed Rail better connecting them to Australia’s major cities. High Speed Rail will transform the way Canberrans live, work and take holidays.
High Speed Rail has the capacity to ease congestion on our roads as well as provide a new foundation for a low carbon, high productivity economy.
Already this technology is being rolled out across the globe with clear economic, productivity, lifestyle and environmental benefits.
The initial tasks of the new High Speed Rail Authority include:
- Finalising the track alignment and station locations in consultation with the governments of Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and the ACT.
- Working with Infrastructure Australia to develop a detailed business case.
- Conducting market testing to refine capital cost estimates, construction timetables and identify opportunities for private sector involvement.
This project will be funded from the Nation Building 2 Program and is already included in the budget.