26 September 2023

New body to see high-speed rail hit the track

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A new Government Authority is to be established to oversee the development of a high-speed rail network along Australia’s east coast.

Introducing laws to establish the High Speed Rail Authority, the Minister for Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Catherine King said a high-speed rail network could allow passengers to travel between major cities and significant regional cities at speeds exceeding 250 km/h.

Ms King said the new Authority would build on previous work, including a comprehensive study that found high speed rail was viable and would return over $2 for every $1 of investment.

“The first priority of the Authority will be planning and corridor works for the Sydney to Newcastle section of the high-speed rail network,” Ms King said.

“This commitment will see corridor planning and early works progress in this fast-growing region of the east coast,” she said.

“While the Authority works closely with the New South Wales Government on this section, it will continue to advance plans for other sections of the high-speed rail network, which will eventually connect Brisbane to Melbourne, with stops in Canberra, Sydney and regional centres.”

Ms King said the Authority would also provide independent advice to Governments on high speed rail planning and delivery, and would lead the coordination with States and Territories.

She said it would be overseen by a Board, drawn from experts in the rail and infrastructure sector.

“Faster rail will also continue to be advanced under the Authority, with the functions of the National Faster Rail Agency being undertaken within the Authority and the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts,” the Minister said.

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