SET IN TRAIN: Plan a Geelong to Brisbane high-speed rail link

GEELONG’s next high-speed rail line could connect as far as Brisbane as the Federal Government sets the wheels in motion for an interstate link on the east coast.

The federal government has introduced legislation to create a high-speed rail authority, which would provide a new rail network with trains traveling up to 250km/h to link the capital cities of Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane, as well as stops in regional centers in between.

The Department for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts said the existing Geelong to Melbourne fast train project would continue as planned under the new agency, which would oversee the project pipeline for the road across the country.

“The new High Speed ​​Rail Authority, once established, will provide independent advice to government on the planning and delivery of high speed rail, and lead coordination with states and territories on the delivery of the high speed rail project. speed,” a department spokesperson said. said.

“The authority will carry out the existing scope and functions of the National Faster Rail Agency in conjunction with the Department for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts, including the Melbourne to Geelong Fast Rail project.

“The development and introduction of the authority will not impact the delivery and timelines of the Geelong Fast Rail project, which is currently in planning and continues to progress with the Victorian Government.”

The state government expects construction to start next year on the first leg of the $4 billion Geelong line, which would create a dedicated track between Werribee and Laverton to cut existing journey times up to 15 minutes.

The Federal Government tabled legislation for the authority earlier this month in one of its last acts before Parliament adjourned following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

Federal Transport Minister Catherine King said the project “recognizes the importance of prosperity in our regions”.

“High-speed rail offers the promise of changing the lives of millions of Australians, especially in our regions, while bringing our capitals closer to the east coast.

“This is a visionary investment to open our regions to greater opportunities.”

The High Speed ​​Rail Authority is an escalation of the current National Faster Rail Agency, which was established in July 2019.

Federal government studies found that a high-speed rail line was viable and would yield double its expenditure in economic benefits.

A Sydney-Newcastle link, backed by $500 million in federal funding, would be the first project under the new authority, with the Geelong project set to continue under state government.

Jose P. Rogers