The Federal Government has announced $2 billion in funding to ‘bring fast rail to life’ between Geelong and Melbourne, which it claims will cut the time for the 80km journey in half to 32 minutes.
Federal Minister for Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack, said that the ‘congestion-busting’ plan will be a first of its kind in Australia, with an average line speed of 160 km/h.
“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,” Mr McCormack said.
The plan forms part of the Federal Government’s Plan for Australia’s Future Population strategy, which aims to mitigate population pressures in the nation’s larger cities.
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.
The announcement drew quick rebuke from the opposition, with Shadow Minister for Transport Anthony Albanese saying it’s ‘too little too late’ and that the development of a high speed rail system is imperative.
“For nearly six years the Coalition has ignored the comprehensive blueprint for High Speed Rail connecting Brisbane and Melbourne via Sydney and Canberra that was developed by the former Federal Labor Government,” Mr Albanese said.