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Getting moving with high speed rail

Media Release
Christine Milne 6 Aug 2013

The Greens have announced a plan to fast track the construction of high speed rail on the Eastern Sea board.

Australian Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne and Deputy Leader Adam Bandt MP have announced the plan at Melbourne's Southern Cross Station and Mr Bandt will outline details of the plan to a conference on high speed in Sydney on Wednesday.

As part of the agreement to support the minority Labor government, the Australian Greens secured a $20 million feasibility study into high speed rail.

That feasibility study demonstrated that it will cut pollution, enhance business and passenger transport and generate positive economic returns.

The commissioned phase two report laid down a plan for rolling out the High Speed Rail Project in several stages. The Greens will implement the accelerated timetable envisaged in the report.

"Australia needs twenty-first century infrastructure," Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne said.

"The Greens have been taking the lead on high speed rail, including securing a landmark study as part of the study as part of the negotiations to form government."

"High speed rail's time has come. Let's get on with it," Greens Deputy Leader and High Speed Rail spokesperson Adam Bandt said.

"The Greens are worried that old parties are putting high speed rail on the slow track. We want to get moving. Australia and Antarctica are now the only two continents in the world where there is no high speed rail project underway"

"High speed rail will be a great 'stimulus package' for the south-east states and the manufacturing sector as the economy slows. High speed rail will boost the economies of regional centres along the route."

"Melbourne to Sydney is one of the busiest air routes in the world. High speed rail could alleviate the need for a second Sydney airport."

"This is a nation-building project that will improve connectedness between our cities and towns, boost economic competitiveness and provide better transport options for millions of Australians for generations to come."

Mr Bandt said to begin this nation-transforming project, the Greens are committing to fast track high speed rail, and would:
• Fast-track intergovernmental agreements and legislation to get high speed rail moving.
• Establish a dedicated High Speed Rail Authority (HSRA) to develop and manage the project. The Authority would be responsible for:
• Preparing a detailed financing and investment plan for the project.
• Surveying the best rail corridors with the relevant state and local governments
• Secure ownership of those routes and confirm the development and operation plan of the project through an inter-governmental agreement.
• Commence a comprehensive environmental impact assessment.

This proposal has been costed by the Parliamentary Budget Office at $664 million over the forward estimates period, plus the costs of the Environmental Impact Statement. The EIS has been costed at $570 million. The plan has been costed by the Parliamentary Budget Office.


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