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High-speed rail meetings commence in Newcastle

The first of many meetings to work towards plans for NSW’s high-speed rail project has taken place in the first steps to improve travel across the state

The board of the High Speed Rail Authority (HSRA) has met for the first time in Newcastle to discuss its vision for a high-speed rail network across Australia’s east coast.

First commencing operations on June 13 this year, the HSRA is the overseeing body for the planned rail network, in collaboration with transport officials across NSW.

August’s meeting followed a briefing regarding the existing rail corridor between Sydney and Newcastle, and how that can be upgraded and used as a part of the new plans.

Federal transport minister Catherine King says the meeting is an important first step in conducting the planning for the project.

“High-speed rail will be instrumental in improving the lives of Australians by supporting shifts in population settlement, better connecting skilled workers with major job centres and being a key enabler of achieving our ambitious carbon reduction targets,” King says.

“It is essential the HSRA takes the time now to establish a robust foundation on which to build and this means the planning has to be done properly and in detail.

“Given the size and scale of building an east coast high-speed rail network, it must be based on meticulous planning, good governance and highly effective project management.

“High-speed rail is still in its early days and we acknowledge this project will take time.

We have a vision about how we want to see Australia develop, not just next year or next decade but decades from now.”

One of the aims of the project is to cut times for interstate travel along Australia’s east coast, providing alternatives to driving or air travel and greater movement between cities and regional centres.

This comes with the goal of promoting sustainable settlement patterns, and spreading economic growth outside of capital cities.

“High-speed rail is a game-changer for our region  increasing capacity, cutting carbon, delivering better connectivity and creating good local jobs and opportunities,” federal member for Newcastle Sharon Claydon says.

“The HSRA board meeting in Newcastle is a milestone achievement that recognises the lead role our city will play in shaping high-speed rail in Australia.

“Newcastle and our region stand to benefit enormously from the federal government’s commitment to get work on high-speed rail underway. It’s time to make high-speed rail a reality in Australia.” 

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