Rail needs a ‘champion’

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The Greens are pushing the ACT Government to embrace the “strong opportunities” of light rail, high-speed rail and improved rail freight.

Greens transport spokeswoman, Amanda Bresnan will introduce a motion into the Legislative Assembly that would require the Government to advance light rail, high-speed rail, and rail freight projects, which she said, all presented strong opportunities for Canberra’s transport future and would bring significant benefits to the ACT region – including economic, social, environmental and travel benefits.

“Rail needs a champion in Canberra. The Chief Minister has lobbied and pushed for new freeways. Sustainable transport projects like light rail and high speed rail should receive the same effort,” Ms Bresnan said.

“It is a timely moment for the ACT to have the rail debate. Currently, the Federal Government is making decisions about an east coast high-speed rail route and the ACT needs to present a case for prioritising Canberra routes. The Government is also looking at the future of Northbourne Avenue, which the Greens believe should include light rail.

“The Government’s Majura Freeway will help entrench a future of road freight, when the Government should be looking at the many opportunities for rail freight in Canberra.

“Every year, approximately two million people travel between Canberra and Sydney. This is expected to almost double in the next 25 years.  A high-speed rail trip between Canberra and Sydney would only take one hour.  To Melbourne, it would only take 90-to-120 minutes.”

Ms Bresnan’s motion would would require the Government to take action including:

  •  Developing proposals for Canberra light rail routes that can be presented to Infrastructure Australia, and that can be pursued without Federal assistance;
  • Present a case to the Federal Government for the prioritisation of Canberra stages of a High Speed Rail network, and stations, and facilitating the planning and staging of the routes
  • Prioritising sustainable freight transport by developing a rail precinct in the vicinity of East Lake/Fyshwick, which includes rail freight facilities such as an intermodal freight hub



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