Federal Labor's announcement that it will establish a High Speed Rail Authority and invest over $1 billion in land acquisitions as the first stage in delivering an east coast High Speed Rail network shows that rail transport is finally back on track in Australia.
Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) National Secretary Bob Nanva – a former member of the High Speed Rail Advisory Group – said High Speed Rail would be fast, comfortable, convenient and competitive.
“There is already a huge market for intercity and interstate travel in Australia. Sydney-Melbourne is now the second busiest airline route in the world, and Brisbane-Sydney is the eighth busiest.
“There is no doubt that if we build High Speed Rail, the passengers will come."
Mr Nanva said High Speed Rail (HSR) would bring enormous economic benefits to regional centres along the route, while helping to address infrastructure and congestion pressures on major cities.
“High Speed Rail would be good for cities, good for the regions, good for the economy, and good for the environment.
“Anyone who has been on a High Speed Rail service overseas knows that it’s also a great travelling experience.”
GREAT TRAVELLING EXPERIENCE
Mr Nanva said the benefits of HSR for travellers include:
- A higher standard of comfort and convenience – without the queueing and waiting around airports;
- A door-to-door service that drops travellers into the heart of the city they are travelling to;
- Competitively priced transport; and
- The potential for zero-emissions transport when connected to a renewable energy source.
NATIONALS MUST EXPAIN THEIR LAZINESS
“High Speed Rail is a visionary long-term infrastructure project for Australia, but sadly it is already six years behind schedule due to the inaction and laziness of the Liberal-National Coalition Government," Mr Nanva said.
“The Nationals must explain to regional voters why they have ignored High Speed Rail, and continue to ignore the transport needs of local communities, particularly in regional centres like Lismore, Grafton, Coffs Harbour, and Port Macquarie.”