| March 09, 2018

Investigating a world-leading faster rail initiative for Victoria

The Australian Government has today committed funding towards a business case for a Greater Shepparton to Melbourne High Speed Rail line under the $20 million Faster Rail initiative.

This is one of three business cases being funded under the initiative following a competitive assessment process.

The Melbourne to Greater Shepparton High Speed Rail proposal put forward by the Consolidated Land and Rail Australia (CLARA) consortium has the potential to significantly reduce passenger travel times along the route and drive other flow-on economic benefits to Melbourne and regional Victoria.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Michael McCormack said rail investment was a key part of the Australian Government’s $75 billion investment in infrastructure which includes $10 billion for a National Rail Program for urban and regional passenger rail projects and $8.4 billion toward Inland Rail.

Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities Paul Fletcher said the intention of this process was to develop detailed proposals for faster rail services between major cities and surrounding regional areas to increase connectivity, speed or frequency of rail services, giving more people the option to enjoy the lifestyle of a regional town while being able to access the deep job market of a capital city.

Member for Murray Damian Drum said CLARA has proposed an innovative and revolutionary model for building a High Speed Rail link between Melbourne and Greater Shepparton that does not involve direct costs to government or tax payers.

“The proposal instead relies on the opportunity created by the development of two brand new cities to fund the infrastructure to support them through land value uplift,” Mr Drum said.

“This proposal is unique in Australia and relatively unique by global standards as well so warrants further investigation especially given the potential of such a project to both alleviate population pressures facing Melbourne but also grow and expand Victoria’s regional economy.”

The Australian Government will co-fund the business case with the project proponent. The business case is expected to be delivered in the next 12 to 18 months and will then proceed to independent assessment by Infrastructure Australia.

The decision to fund these faster rail business cases does not indicate a commitment to fund the infrastructure projects but is instead focused on investigating the viability of such proposals.

For more information visit: https://infrastructure.gov.au/rail/trains/faster_rail/

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