The Morrison Government will deliver $2 billion to bring fast rail to life between Geelong and Melbourne, cutting the 80km journey in half to 32 minutes.
The congestion-busting rail will be the first of its kind in Australia – travelling at the fastest speeds of any train line in the nation at an average of 160 km/h.
As part of the Government’s Plan for Australia’s Future Population to take pressure off the big cities and support the growth of the regions, the Melbourne-Geelong fast rail would be the first of many the Liberal Nationals Government would build over the next twenty years between the big capitals and surrounding regional centres.
The Government’s 20-year fast rail plan also invests $40m for detailed assessments of five additional corridors, complementing the three presently underway that the federal government has funded, and others that state governments are funding.
These detailed assessments will determine the next priorities for funding and construction.
The Morrison Government will create a National Fast Rail Agency to guide the work, determine priorities based on the assessments, work with state governments and communities and the private sector and provide innovative finance solutions.
It would also take enormous pressure off the Princes Freeway and West Gate Bridge. Over 54,000 vehicles take the Princes Freeway every day.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the congestion busting investment in infrastructure would give time back to commuters and enable more people to live in our regions and work in our cities.
“This is all part of our plan to manage population growth that I announced this week to take the pressure off our big cities like Melbourne and make our regional cities like Geelong even more attractive places to live and work,” the Prime Minister said.
“As our population grows, fast rail networks are crucial to easing the congestion pressures in our cities and shaping Australia’s future.
“As well as reducing our migration cap and introducing new visas and incentives to encourage more migrants out to the regional areas that need their skills, our record investment in congestion busting infrastructure is key to tackling Australia’s population challenges.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said faster rail services meant greater accessibility to regional Australia.
“Faster rail services not only help to ease road congestion, it also means more people can access regional centres such as Geelong and wider region with reliable transport connections, which helps to generate more growth opportunities, beyond the city limits,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.
“This is all part of the Australian Government’s plans to help Australians get home sooner and safer, and to share these benefits in regional Australia, by building strategic infrastructure projects that make a real difference to peoples’ lives, and enable the flow of people, trade and investment that is essential to having strong and successful economies in our regions.”
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the Geelong fast rail was possible because of the Government’s plan for a stronger economy.
“As a proud and passionate Victorian, I am particularly pleased to see this important piece of infrastructure announced by the Coalition,” the Treasurer said.
“It will help in creating jobs, reducing congestion and unlocking the potential of our regions.
“Investments like these can only be made because our plan for a stronger economy is working.”
Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population Alan Tudge said the fast rail plan was a critical part of the Government’s Population Plan.
“Fast rail from the big capitals to the regional cities eases the pressure off the big cities while supporting the growth of the regions,” Minister Tudge said.
“This works alongside other measures such as reducing the migration rate and encouraging more new migrants and students to settle in smaller cities and regions that need them.
“Geelong is a strong growing regional centre, but transport connectivity to Melbourne is constrained by existing infrastructure.
“During peak hour, trains are often full at key stations such as Wyndham Vale and Tarneit, with passenger numbers exceeding capacity on the line. Services on the Geelong Line also suffer frequent delays.
Federal Member for Corangamite, Sarah Henderson MP, said this is a long-term, visionary project that will strengthen and grow our region and dramatically cut travel times.
“This is a truly historic announcement,” Ms Henderson said.
“For years so many people have talked about fast rail. Today, I am so proud to be a member of the Morrison Government that will deliver. My job is to get things done – to deliver for my community.
“Fast trains mean so much more than fast travel times. This project means jobs. This project means more time with your family. This means economic growth.”
The Liberal Nationals Government’s $2 billion commitment will the $5 billion commitment to the Melbourne Airport Rail Link which will increase capacity between Sunshine and the Melbourne CBD.
The Morrison Government’s funding includes backing new business cases for fast rail between:
· Brisbane to the Gold Coast
· Melbourne to Albury-Wodonga
· Melbourne to Traralgon
· Sydney to Wollongong
· Sydney to Parkes