March 22, 2019 Angela Scicluna

Regional Capitals Australia Welcomes Fast Rail Commitments

Regional Capitals Australia (RCA) has today welcomed the release of the Government’s Faster Rail Plan that will connect more regional cities to faster rail.

The announcement comes two days after the Government released details to further grow regional cities as part of their National Population Plan.

Today’s announcement was made by Prime Minister, the Hon Scott Morrison, Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon Michael McCormack, Treasurer the Hon Josh Frydenberg, and Minister for Cities and Population the Hon Alan Tudge.

The Faster Rail Plan includes:

A National Faster Rail Agency: which will develop a 20-year plan for a fast rail network.  The agency will be supported by an Expert Panel which will oversee future opportunities for fast rail business cases, including from Melbourne to Bendigo and further work on the Ballarat line.

Business case development: $40 million would be set aside for five new business cases for fast rail including those between:

  • Melbourne to Albury-Wodonga;
  • Melbourne to Traralgon;
  • Sydney to Wollongong;
  • Brisbane to the Gold Coast
  • Sydney to Parkes (via Orange).

This commitment is in addition to funding previously allocated to a number of business cases including:

  • Sydney to Newcastle;
  • Melbourne to Greater Shepparton;
  • Brisbane to Sunshine Coast; and
  • Brisbane to Toowoomba.

Faster rail business cases from Melbourne to Ballarat and from Sydney to Canberra are being funded by the Victorian and New South Wales State Governments respectively.

Geelong to Melbourne Rail Funding: $2 billion for upgrades to the Melbourne to Geelong rail line which aims to travel an average speed of 160km/h, cutting the commute from Geelong to Melbourne down to 32 minutes.

Regional Capitals Australia (RCA) Chair Cr Samantha McIntosh said the plan was very welcome, as the alliance had been strongly advocating for more investment in regional rail and for more to be done to develop businesses cases so more rail projects could be assessed and funded.

“Investment in regional rail is a key part of RCA’s objectives to ensure our member cities are better connected to metropolitan markets, while also making our cities more liveable for existing residents and those that are thinking of escaping the congested capitals,” she said.

“We congratulate the Government on their commitments to invest in this important infrastructure and the initiative to create an agency that will investigate more options for regional cities in the future,” she said.

“Regional cities are the liveable alternative and we know that today’s announcement will continue to ensure our member cities remain so,” she said.

Contact

Angela Scicluna, Regional Capitals Australia Secretariat
P: 03 8658 5715
M: 0434 274 457
E: Secretariat@regionalcapitalsaustralia.org

About Regional Capitals Australia

Regional Capitals Australia (RCA) is a national alliance of local government councils across the nation representing Australia’s regional cities. RCA’s mission is to provide a recognised platform to champion the strategic importance and sustainable development of regional capitals around the nation. To learn more about our work visit http://regionalcapitalsaustralia.org.

Available for Interview
Cr Samantha McIntosh – Chair, Regional Capitals Australia