High speed rail would 'turbocharge' regional Australia: MP

High speed trains in a maintenance base at China. ...Anthony Albanese has renewed calls for the construction of a high speed rail network in Australia.
High speed trains in a maintenance base at China. ...Anthony Albanese has renewed calls for the construction of a high speed rail network in Australia.

Investing in high speed rail would “turbocharge” regional Australia, according to Federal Labor MP Anthony Albanese.

Mr Albanese, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development, said big projects like high speed rail could mean jobs for regional Australia.

“One issue over which there is bipartisan agreement in Australia is the need to find new drivers of jobs growth in the wake of the decline in mining investment,” Mr Albanese said.

“Australia can no longer rely on mining to drive growth, so we must invest in innovation to build new industries, while also boosting growth in existing sectors like agriculture.”

These projects include fibre-based broadband and inland rail routes in several states.

High speed rail is another project Mr Albanese claimed could make a real difference to regional areas through which the route passed.

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While the preferred route at this stage did not pass through the Illawarra due to the challenging topography, it had been proposed that a station could be built in the Southern Highlands.

“Our nation should also invest in the proposed high speed rail link from Brisbane to Melbourne via Sydney and Canberra, which would turbo-charge economic development in regional Australia,” Mr Albanese said.

“High speed rail would allow people to move between capitals in as little as three hours.

“It would slash the journey between Sydney and Canberra to 40 minutes, quicker than it takes to travel from Sydney’s suburbs to its CBD.”

Mr Albanese’s call comes a week after the federal House Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities released an inquiry that recommended using high speed rail to link regional towns to the city centres, which could result in “affordable housing stock for generations to come”, said committee chair John Alexander.

“It’s a win-win-win-win situation,” Mr Alexander said.

“A win for regional economic development, a win for urban congestion relief and renewal, a win for the supply of vast affordable housing stock that is within easy commuting time of big city jobs, and a win for government finances as ‘value capture’ would fund construction, not general revenue.”

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