6 June 2014
Tony Abbott has dealt another blow to Newcastle by scrapping Commonwealth support for an east coast high-speed rail network.
Before the election the Abbott Liberal Government publicly backed high-speed rail, but last month’s federal Budget scrapped a $52 million allocation to establish a planning authority for the project, which would link Brisbane and Melbourne via Newcastle, Sydney and Canberra.
“Without the planning authority, the important process of securing the transport corridor for the 1748km project simply won’t get started. And the longer we wait, the more likely it is that the preferred corridor will be built out by urban sprawl, leaving few, if any, options for the future”, Ms Claydon said.
Recent Senate Budget Estimates Committee hearings confirm Mr Abbott’s withdrawal of Government support for high-speed rail, throwing the entire project into doubt and denying regional cities like Newcastle the economic benefit of the project.
A feasibility study into high-speed rail commissioned by the former Labor Government found that for every dollar spent on HSR on the first section between Sydney and Melbourne, the project would return $2.15 in economic benefit to surrounding communities.
“In addition to the economic benefits of high-speed rail, the convenience for commuters is phenomenal, with trips from Newcastle to Sydney taking just 40 minutes.”
“The scrapping of Commonwealth support for high-speed rail is short-sighted and again demonstrates Tony Abbott’s complete lack of vision. He has no plan for the future and our nation is the poorer for it.”