Lyne MP calls for High Speed Rail Network

Dr David Gillespie MP, Mr Yoshitake Tanabe from JTB Australia, site owner Bob McCrimmon and Mr Arti Yuno from JTB Australia at the former UGL Train Manufacturing suite at Lansdowne near Taree.

FEDERAL Member for Lyne Dr David Gillespie has echoed support for an Australian High Speed Rail Network, which he believes can unclog capital cities and supercharge decentralisation.

“I’ve always been a big supporter of high-speed rail and have advocated for this type of infrastructure since my maiden speech in 2013.

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“Many of us across the parliament have been regular participants in parliamentary friendship groups on high-speed rail and work with numerous stakeholders to continue progressing this long term,” Dr Gillespie told Parliament.

The former Federal Coalition Government allocated more than $5.9-billion into the nation’s Faster Rail Strategy and established the National Faster Rail Agency to work with the States on projects that could deliver Fast Rail.

With a change of government, Federal Labor has introduced legislation to rebadge the agency which will operate as a new statutory agency called the High Speed Rail Authority.

“The establishment of the High Speed Rail Authority is welcomed by me and many in the National Party.

“It will drive great outcomes, but it’s got to be done in a really efficient way.

“It will have to be really fast.”

Dr Gillespie said that unlike China, which had the ability to fund vast distances of its High Speed Rail Network, Australia had to be innovative in how it developed High Speed Rail.

“The idea of building it between Sydney, Newcastle and Maitland—between two big cities—is exactly the model that the Japanese followed when they built it. It’s the hardest bit, but it’s the first bit, and then you’ll find every city in the country will want to be part of it.

“It will be competing against 40,000 people who drive down from the Central Coast every morning and drive back in the evening.

“What business case won’t survive with 40,000 potential customers?”

“If you add further, up to Port Macquarie, which is the plan, you’ll be going into a rapidly expanding North Coast network.

“That is a reasonable first build.

“Then you go down through the outskirts of Sydney to the new international airport.

“As soon as that’s there, Canberra will want to be hooked up.

“And then, as soon as Canberra’s hooked up, Victoria will be saying, ‘We want to get hooked up’.

“That’s how organically built bits of infrastructure happen.”

Dr Gillespie said that in pursuing High Speed Rail, the States should ensure their planning laws are streamlined to reduce red tape as well as ensuring corridors can be identified and development is encouraged along the route to help fund the network.

“If you look at any of the great rail networks in the world, the real estate around stations is essentially the part of the business plan that delivers the greatest economic viability, because everyone wants to be next to a railway station.

“Something that bedevils this whole nation—is the red and green tape in any of these projects.

“It not only delays things but also adds enormous costs.

“So we need synchrony between the planning laws that are state run, and the state governments, to make sure these corridors are secured under local planning instruments,” he added.

Dr Gillespie also highlighted the opportunities for local manufacturing with a new High Speed Rail fleet and encouraged the government to consider regional locations.

“We have a huge rail site in the Lyne electorate that used to build trains forever, and it’s lying vacant.

“There’s some plastic recycling. But this will be a breath of fresh air.

“I call on any railway constructors to come on down and have a look at the beautiful Lyne electorate.

“We’ve got an unemployed workforce; they’re in other industries now, but they know how to make trains.

“And we’d welcome them with open arms.”

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