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Building infrastructure for the future - High Speed Rail

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Campaign Media Release

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd

Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese


A re-elected Rudd Labor Government will cement high speed rail technology as part of Australia’s transport future.

Federal Labor will enact legislation to preserve the 1,748 kilometre corridor along which the track will be laid and establish a new authority to oversee the delivery of the project.

This High Speed Rail network, connecting our three largest cities and the national capital, forms part of Federal Labor’s plan to support jobs beyond the China mining boom.

Federal Labor’s considered approach adopts all the recommendations in the final report from the High Speed Rail Advisory Group. The Advisory Group’s membership included former Deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer, Business Council of Australia Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott and Australasian Railway Association CEO Bryan Nye.

It’s also consistent with the work undertaken as part of our landmark, two-year implementation study, published earlier this year, which concluded that high speed rail had the potential to be a productivity, lifestyle and environmental game-changer.

The proposed east coast network, which will ultimately service two-thirds of Australians, will be built in stages. The first section will link Sydney to Melbourne via the Southern Highlands, Canberra, Wagga Wagga, Albury Wodonga and Shepparton and be completed by 2035.

The next stage will connect Sydney to Brisbane via the Central Coast and Newcastle.

A high speed rail network would transform the way Australians live, work and holiday around our vast continent.

For many Australians, high speed rail would be an attractive option. They would board a train in the centre of Sydney and travel at 350 kilometres per hour, arriving in the heart of Melbourne in less than three hours.

As well as providing the foundation for a low carbon, high productivity economy, this new infrastructure will also better integrate our regional and urban communities. And it will ease congestion on our roads and at our airports.

The potential of this technology is hard to ignore.

However, such a monumental nation building endeavour must take place in a deliberate, thoughtful manner. That’s why with an initial allocation of $52 million, the new High Speed Rail Authority will:

 Finalise the track alignment and station locations in consultation with the governments of Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and the ACT.

 Work with Infrastructure Australia to develop a detailed business case.

 Conduct market testing to refine capital cost estimates, construction timetables and to identify opportunities for private sector involvement.

That is why the preservation of the corridor must be the next step in securing a high speed rail future for Australia.

As well as planning for our nation’s future, the Rudd Labor Government is also making a record investment in rail right now. We have already committed more funding to urban public transport than all our predecessors since Federation combined.

In addition, we are rebuilding more than a third of the Interstate Rail Freight Network.

Federal Labor has a plan to support jobs and build infrastructure for the future, while Tony Abbott has a plan for $70 billion in spending cuts that will directly threaten jobs.

A full list of the Advisory Group’s members and further information about the next steps a re-elected Labor Government will take to progress the project is set out in the attached factsheet.

The HSR Advisory Group was tasked with reviewing the findings of the implementation study. Its advice was formulated after considering the feedback contained in over 320 written submissions and from meetings with around 200 local stakeholders as well as individuals and companies involved in building similar networks overseas.

This project will be funded from the Nation Building 2 Program and is already included in the budget.

Copies of the Advisory Group’s final report can be downloaded from:


Communications Unit: T 03 8625 5111

Authorised by G. Wright, Australian Labor Party, 5/9 Sydney Avenue, Barton, ACT, 2600


 Lyn O’Connell (Chair) Deputy Secretary, Federal Department of Infrastructure and Transport

 Tim Fischer AC

Former Australian Deputy Prime Minister (1996-1999) and former Ambassador to the Holy See (2008-2012)

 Jennifer Westacott Chief Executive, Business Council of Australia and former Director-General of NSW Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources

 Sue Holliday

Former Director General of NSW Planning (1997-2003) and current member of the Urban Policy Forum

 Peter Newman Professor of Sustainability at Sustainability Policy Institute of Curtin University and Infrastructure Australia Board member

 Bob Nanva

National Secretary, Rail, Tram & Bus Industry Union

 Jenny Dowell President, Northern Rivers Regional Organisation of Councils