Labor says it will invest $1 billion to begin securing the corridor for a high speed line running from Brisbane to Sydney should it win the federal election on May 18.
The plans for the proposed 1,748km route would build on a feasibility study produced under Julia Gillard’s Labor Government in 2013. The feasibility study suggested that the nation-building project would return over two dollars in public benefit for every dollar invested.
“As Australia’s strong population growth continues in coming years, the already established case for High Speed Rail will become more compelling,” said Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development Anthony Albanese.
“If we start to acquire the corridor now, we will protect it from development and thereby minimise costs.”
The 2013 study envisaged a train capable of travelling up to 350km/h across rail link running between Melbourne and Brisbane via Sydney with spur lines to Canberra and the Gold Coast.
In keeping with the plans laid out in the document, Labor plans to create a High Speed Rail Authority, working with the ACT and east coast state governments to commence land acquisitions and finalise track alignments.
Albanese added that the project would bring regional communities closer to capital cities, increasing commuting and strengthening the case for investment in regional businesses.
“The project will also be an economic game-changer for communities along its path, including the Gold Coast, Grafton, Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, Newcastle, the Central Coast, Southern Highlands, Canberra, Wagga Wagga and Shepparton,” he said.