NSW LABOR AND the ACT Government have joined forces to commit $10 million to develop a business case for faster rail services between Sydney and Canberra.
Opposition leader Luke Foley made the announcement at Queanbeyan Station alongside Australian Capital Territory Labor Chief Minister Andrew Barr, who is matching NSW Labor’s dollar commitment. The federal Member for Eden-Monaro, Mike Kelly, and Labor’s candidate for the state seat of Monaro, Bryce Wilson, also attended (photo).
Said Labor candidate for Monaro Bryce Wilson: “I’ve taken the family to Sydney on this train, and I have family come to visit on the train, all of us across the community know that we need to have a look at how we could improve this transport link.
“Residents and I welcome this next step in unlocking the potential of our region.”
Regional transport profile lift, no help from Liberal-Nationals
The joint NSW-ACT commitment puts regional public transport on the agenda after years of missing out to Sydney rail projects and mega toll roads.
Together the two Labor leaders are accelerating the project which has the potential to unlock tourism and employment opportunities in towns along the corridor, including Queanbeyan and Goulburn.
Last November the ACT Government entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Liberal-National NSW Government to promote greater co-operation on cross border issues, among them the benefits of a faster train journey between the two state capitals.
However, no money has been forthcoming from Gladys Berejiklian and an application to the Turnbull government for federal funding was also unsuccessful.
Work and housing amongst the benefits
Reducing the current journey time of four hours on the train between Sydney and Canberra might encourage tens of thousands of people to commute to those cities from towns such as Yass, Goulburn, the Southern Highlands and Wollondilly Shire. Cutting half an hour off the journey from Goulburn to Canberra would be a huge incentive for families looking to move to the town.
A shift from road to rail has the potential to take tens of thousands of cars off the roads and increase the attraction of families to live and work in the Sydney to Canberra corridor.
For the past 18 years, employment in the corridor has grown by 1.7 percent a year and each day 50,000 people commute into the ACT for work, while around a third of Wollondilly’s residents travel to Greater Sydney for work daily.
A faster rail service could qualify for funds generated by the sale of NSW’s share in the Snowy Hydro if it meets strict criteria outlined by NSW Labor.
NSW regions now get half promised infrastructure spend
Investment in our regions is vital to provide good jobs and access to health and education no matter where you live. The NSW Auditor General has found that under the Liberals and Nationals, regional NSW has received less than half of promised infrastructure spending, said NSW Labor leader Luke Foley.
“The Liberal-National State Government has squandered hundreds of millions of dollars on blowouts on WestConnex and Sydney light rail and has starved the regions of the public transport infrastructure that is needed. Labor has the right priorities and it is in public transport.”
From left: ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr, NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley, Labor candidate for Monaro Bryce Wilson, Federal Member for Eden-Monaro Mike Kelly.