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Greens propose High Speed Rail link

With the Melbourne-Sydney flight route the 4th busiest in the world, Australian Greens Leader Senator Bob Brown today called for work to begin on establishing a High Speed Rail (HSR) link between the nation's biggest capital cities.

Launching the Greens proposal for a major concept study into an east coast High Speed Rail link at Southern Cross Station in Melbourne, Senator Brown said travel between Sydney and Melbourne or Brisbane on a High Speed Rail network would take only 4 hours city centre to city centre, with comfortable seats, phone and internet access.

"High Speed Rail links with trains travelling at speeds up to 500kms per hour, more generally 250 - 350 kms per hour are already widespread in Europe and Asia and under construction in the United States. Last year Spain budgeted $50 billion to extend its network," said Senator Brown.

"A High Speed Rail link on Australia's east coast would provide fast, reliable and sustainable transport for 75% of our population. Newcastle and Canberra could be connected to the network.

"The HSR would reduce greenhouse emissions from transport and congestion on the high demand Melbourne-Sydney-Brisbane flight routes and accident-prone Pacific, Hume and Princes highways.

"Construction of a High Speed Rail link would also generate thousands of jobs and promote regional development. The Hume highway corridor presents a first option for the Melbourne - Sydney connection for the cities' 8 million people.

"This kind of nation-building project requires a major concept study first, including community consultation and environmental studies to determine the best route.

"The Greens say a $10 million study over 12 months would give access to the world's best technology and expertise.

"Cooperation between state governments and the Commonwealth would be crucial.

"We urge the federal government and opposition to take up this nation building proposal for 21 century Australia," Senator Brown said.

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