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          High-Speed Rail Has The Potential to Be a Game-Changer

          increase font size  reduce font Add date: 2016-11-25  Hits:18
          Core prompt: High-Speed Rail (HSR) connecting the east coast capital cities “has the potential to be a game-changer, transforming the way Austra

          High-Speed Rail (HSR) connecting the east coast capital cities “has the potential to be a game-changer, transforming the way Australians live, work and take holidays,” said Federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese, but it wouldn’t be ready for another 50 years.

          “It also has the capacity to better integrate our regional and metropolitan communities, ease congestion on our roads as well as provide a new foundation for a low carbon, high productivity economy.

          “Already this technology is being rolled out across the globe with clear economic, productivity, lifestyles and environmental benefits.

          Mr Albanese was speaking on the release of the second and final report into the HSR.

          The report identifies a potential route for HSR between Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane. It estimates the costs and benefits of HSR, and investigates a raft of issues including construction, patronage, environmental, and urban and regional development.

          The study concludes that once fully operational, HSR could carry 84 million passengers each year, with express journey times of less than three hours between Melbourne and Sydney and between Sydney and Brisbane. Such a network has the potential to deliver a net economic benefit and generate sufficient revenue to cover its operating and asset renewal costs.

          Mr Albanese said: “But equally, HSR would be a monumental endeavour, with very real technical, logistical and financial challenges. That’s why we must take a deliberate, thoughtful approach and this report provides a comprehensive analysis on which an informed public debate is now possible.

          “To this end, I am today initiating a comprehensive program of public consultation and debate on the role HSR could play in Australia’s transport future. As part of this, I am inviting feedback and views on the report and its findings from all interested parties by 30 June 2013.”

          The department’s HSR unit is also embarking on detailed consultations with industry, local governments and community groups. Mr Albanese also established a high-level HSR Advisory Group to work along with the HSR unit in directly advising the government on key industry and community issues arising out of the report.

          “Lastly, I have written to the Premiers of Queensland, NSW and Victoria, as well as the ACT Chief Minister, seeking their formal views on the report and nominations to a new Ministerial Group charged with coordinating the next steps for HSR across jurisdictions.”

          The $20 million report was prepared for the Federal Government by a consortium led by AECOM and comprising Grimshaw Architects, KPMG, Sinclair Knight Merz, Acil Tasman, Booz & Co and Hyder.

          It says the full line from Melbourne through Canberra, Sydney and Newcastle to Brisbane would cost $114 billion, and $50 billion just for the Melbourne-Sydney track.

          Experts have questioned the costings, with one committee member, Peter Newman, calling for an inquiry into rail building and maintenance costs in Australia, as these seem to be completely out of step with overseas experience.

          According to the report, the economic benefits could be significant, with the study finding the project would produce benefits of $2.30 for every $1 invested.

          The report said the 1748-kilometre track would take 15 years to plan and approve. Construction of the entire network would then take about 30 years, with the section from Sydney to Melbourne not completed until 2040.

           
           
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