Labor to spend $1b on bullet train route from Melbourne to Brisbane

Bullet train in Japan
Bullet train in Japan

Labor has promised $1 billion to buy land between Melbourne and Brisbane for a high speed rail link.

The route would include stops in Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie as well as Sydney and Canberra, with the trains travelling at speeds of up to 350kph.

Labor candidate Andrew Woodward said it would be an "absolute game changer for the mid-north coast".

"To think we will be within 90 minutes of Sydney and Brisbane is remarkable. We can go to work meetings or pop up or down to go to the footy, a concert or family gathering.

"The high speed rail will open up massive new business, lifestyle and social opportunities for people in the country and cities.

"I've travelled on high speed rail in Europe and Asia and I know people here will fall in love with it, just as I did there."

A 2013 feasibility study commissioned by the former Labor government identified a 1748km route and found the project, which is expected to cost in the vicinity of $114 billion, would return more than $2 in public benefit for every dollar invested.

Labor said that as a first step toward commencing the project, it would create a High Speed Rail Authority and require it to:

  • Work with the governments of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory to finalise track alignment and commence land acquisitions.
  • Finalise an updated business case for the project in consultation with Infrastructure Australia.
  • Work with the private sector including international proponents with experience in building and operating High Speed Rail to advance the project.

Communities that would benefit from the high speed rail link include the Gold Coast, Grafton, Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, Newcastle, the Central Coast, Southern Highlands, Canberra, Wagga Wagga and Shepparton.

This story A 90-minute train trip to Sydney or Brisbane first appeared on The Bellingen Shire Courier Sun.