Labor puts $1b on table for high-speed rail link via Canberra

Ian Bushnell 10 May 2019

Chinese high-speed trains: Labor Government would work with international proponents with experience in building and operating high-speed rail.

Labor has put high-speed rail back on the election agenda with a $1 billion pledge to begin securing the corridor for a link from Brisbane to Melbourne via Sydney and Canberra.

Transport and infrastructure spokesperson Anthony Albanese says a Shorten Labor Government will create a High-Speed Rail Authority that will work with the governments of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory to finalise track alignment and commence land acquisitions.

It will also finalise an updated business case for the project in consultation with Infrastructure Australia and work with the private sector including international proponents with experience in building and operating high-speed rail.

The former Labor government completed a feasibility study for the project in 2013, which identified a 1748km route and found the project was not only viable, but would return more than $2 in public benefit for every dollar invested, according to Mr Albanese.

He said an independent panel including former deputy prime minister Tim Fischer and the Business Council of Australia’s Jennifer Westacott recommended the creation of a High Speed Rail Authority but subsequent Coalition governments failed to act on this.

Mr Albanese said high-speed rail would revolutionise interstate travel and regional development in Australia, allowing passengers to move between capital cities in as little as three hours at speeds of up to 350km/h.

The project would 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.


“It would bring these communities closer to capital cities, allowing for increased commuting while also strengthening the case for regional business investment,” Mr Albanese said.

“As Australia’s strong population growth continues in coming years, the already established case for high-speed rail will become more compelling. If we start to acquire the corridor now, we will protect it from development and thereby minimise costs.

“Indeed, in 2017 Infrastructure Australia calculated that early acquisition of the corridors for seven rail projects on its Infrastructure Priority List, including high-speed Rail, would save the public $11 billion in land acquisition and construction costs.”

Route maps so far for high-speed rail proposals show a station to the north of Canberra with a spur line to the capital. Canberra Airport also has proposed a station there to create an integrated transport hub.

A land value capture model for property development has been proposed as a way to finance the expected $100 billion project but it will still need significant government support.

A private consortium Consolidated Land and Rail Australia (CLARA) – which includes Japanese company Hitachi, infrastructure services company Cardno and the CSIRO – plans to use the land value capture model along the route to fund and build eight inland ‘smart’ cities in conjunction with a high-speed rail network connecting Sydney and Melbourne via Canberra.

CLARA believes the 35-year eight cities project can deliver critical mass in passenger numbers for the HSR network, as well as unlock the significant financial benefits to the Australian economy of inland city development.

It says it is agnostic about technology and will choose the best on offer if its proposal is accepted. CLARA says research shows that there are at least four viable, currently available technologies that would enable CLARA to achieve its faster rail projections, including magnetic levitation and traditional systems.

CLARA’s proposal has three distinct stages which it says are commercially viable in their own right. The first two to be built concurrently are Melbourne to Greater Shepparton with two CLARA cities and then Sydney to Canberra with three CLARA cities.

It says the Sydney to Canberra corridor will deliver 501,000 new dwellings over 35 years, accommodating about 1.2 million people. The Melbourne to Shepparton corridor involves 334,000 new dwelling allotments accommodating 801,000 people.

But the Greens in their policy for high-speed rail say the project should be totally publicly funded and not handed over to property developers.

Original Article published by Ian Bushnell on The RiotACT.

What's Your Opinion?

41 Responses to Labor puts $1b on table for high-speed rail link via Canberra

Ian Hampton Ian Hampton 8:16 pm 11 May 19

‘A land value capture model for property development has been proposed as a way to finance the expected $100 billion project but it will still need significant government support’... I think this means that the owners of property along the route (deemed to benefit) are levied or taxed to pay for the development!?

Alan Porritt Alan Porritt 7:36 am 11 May 19

It will end up like the NBN. An expensive out of date disaster.

Linda Eden Linda Eden 6:48 am 11 May 19

Blah blah blah. I have been hearing this for 40 years!

Yarnnie Drakopoulos Yarnnie Drakopoulos 6:09 am 11 May 19

Bring it on

JM Cregan JM Cregan 12:42 am 11 May 19

bahahaha!!! what a load of twatwaffle.. the infrastructure has to be in place BEFORE the train is even built.. and this was talked about when Labor was in last time.. and what did it come too? NOTHING

Warren Butt Warren Butt 12:10 am 11 May 19

Need way more than 1 bill

Neale Oxley Neale Oxley 12:05 am 11 May 19

Fix our Highway number 1 first. The Prince's DEATHTRAP has more B-Doubles and less lanes. Get that done NOW not promise to. A cool billion is NOTHING on what they spent on the north coast over the decades while we get a rag-tag team of pothole fillers down here. One major accident here and the alleged highway number one is blocked. It's a disgrace.

Isabel Robinson Isabel Robinson 11:02 pm 10 May 19

Even places like Uzbekistan have high-speed rail. I think securing the corridor is a good idea, especially if they start between Canberra and Sydney.

Mark Berry Mark Berry 10:30 pm 10 May 19

Why has the LNP been “sitting on their hands” with this proposal when so many ex coalition premiers have been supporting it?

David Steer David Steer 10:21 pm 10 May 19

This only ever gets raised at certain points in the electoral cycle or when a political party wants to take the focus off something else! Sorry, cynical because it's been going on for too many years.

Stew McAllister Stew McAllister 9:43 pm 10 May 19

Labor promise please,

    Isabel Robinson Isabel Robinson 10:57 pm 10 May 19

    Hawke stated an admirable ideal to work towards (and more shame on all of us that it hasn't eventuate; Keating shouldn't have broadcast that idea, but he was actually speaking the truth because the economy was heading that way (as it is right now, but I think for different reasons); Gillard's statement you and your ilk quote is only half of the sentence she said and was in fact a deliberate misrepresentation in the Murdoch press of the point she was making; Shorten is not saying something that Morrison isn't also claiming, but Shorten actually is able to show how it's going to be done.

    Personally I don't think either party should be trying to chalk up surpluses because if the government is sitting on money that means it's not in general circulation, and that means private enterprise and people will have to outsource to get finance for projects, and that is an economically dangerous thing. It's not dangerous for a nation with sovereign currency to have a reasonable deficit.

    Stew McAllister Stew McAllister 11:08 pm 10 May 19

    Isabel Robinson

    I know the truth hurts,

    Here’s another load of BS &

    Labor’s gunna list

    Isabel Robinson Isabel Robinson 9:14 am 11 May 19

    Stew McAllister What year was that? Before or after GFC? Or shortly before they were voted out of office and the LNP got in and doubled the deficit. Here's something for you to get around. I don't think any of them should be chasing surpluses. They print our money. What is the point of keeping it out of circulation - it creates economy instability to do that. Taxes should only be used as a means of controlling inflation - which has flat-lined under the current mob, and threatens to tip us into the kind of recession we only know about in this country from reading history.

Steve Sass Steve Sass 9:36 pm 10 May 19

Colin Brammall Colin Brammall 9:23 pm 10 May 19

Canberra tram project on a grand scale. It will be built. One day.

Brad Wilton Brad Wilton 8:03 pm 10 May 19

Brisbane to Sydney = headline grabber.

Sydney - Canberra - Melbourne = one of the busiest air corridors in the world. The passengers are there, particularly when you add the regional stops. If you build it, they will come.

If it isn’t maglev then it’ll be outdated by the time it’s finished.

Kellie Prowse Kellie Prowse 7:58 pm 10 May 19

Yeh, be great if this went ahead, (& fabulous for tourism too) catch us up to the rest of the worlds transport systems BUT heard this all before - pretty much every election. Our public transport system is a joke - just get it done!

David Porter David Porter 7:57 pm 10 May 19

And the South Coast is ignored again in this little fantasy...

    Jenifer Mather Jenifer Mather 1:52 pm 13 May 19

    David Porter pros and cons - keeps it nice and peaceful on the south coast

Aaron Bambrick Aaron Bambrick 7:54 pm 10 May 19

I’m not sure how many times they have to model this project to prove it doesn’t stack up ....

    Isabel Robinson Isabel Robinson 11:03 pm 10 May 19

    That's contrary to the information in the article.

Hugh Watson Hugh Watson 7:36 pm 10 May 19

Wonderful. And all from several minor changes to shares and investment houses. They will be able to do so much.

Chris Ellis Chris Ellis 7:35 pm 10 May 19

Election year....

Greg Peterson Greg Peterson 7:24 pm 10 May 19

I pledge $2b

    David Porter David Porter 7:59 pm 10 May 19

    Greg Peterson we probably got more chance of getting it from you

    JM Cregan JM Cregan 12:42 am 11 May 19

    David Porter You got that right!

    Greg Peterson Greg Peterson 6:55 am 11 May 19

    It's really no problem, it's your money anyway.

    Did I mention your tax is going up to 70 cents in the dollar and the $2b will be spend during my third term in power 😁

    Vote early, vote often