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Monday, 2 March 2015
Page: 1812

Infrastructure

(Question No. 697)


Ms McGowan asked the Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, in writing, on 9 February 2015:

In respect of recommendation 4 of the Report on the Inquiry into Infrastructure Planning and Procurement Planning Procurement and Funding for Australia's Future Infrastructure (House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Communications, December 2014, page 22), (a) what land corridor planning and acquisitions have the Australian Government or state governments undertaken in preparation for a high speed rail line between Melbourne and Sydney, and (b) does the Government intend to make land acquisitions in preparation for a future high speed rail line; if not, why not.


Mr Truss: The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(a) The Australia Government is continuing to consider a potential east coast High Speed Rail (HSR) network by engaging with the Queensland, New South Wales, Victorian and ACT governments about each jurisdiction's level of interest in a potential HSR network, and their capacity and ability to support the proposed development.

In line with the recommendations of the 2013 HSR Study Phase 2 Report, jurisdictional consultations have focused on corridor issues relating to the preferred alignment.

The Government is currently working with the jurisdictions to identify priority sections of the preferred alignment for potential protection. This work involves considering the wide variety of geography and current land uses through which the corridor is located, including agricultural, urban, residential, commercial and recreational land areas. The priority sections of the corridor for potential protection are most likely to be located in densely-populated urban environments, which have a higher risk of encroachment by competing development. However, the current and likely future use of some areas may mean the expense of acquiring land may be able to be deferred, as may impacts on current owners or users. The issue requires examination at a detailed level.

(b) The Government and the jurisdictions have not yet protected or acquired any sections of the proposed HSR corridor. A decision on whether or not to acquire land will be informed by the outcomes of the Government's continued consultations with the jurisdictions, and will require jurisdictional agreement and contribution.