High Speed Rail Authority gets $80m to fast-track business case

The government has allocated almost $80 million to fund a business case for the Sydney to Newcastle section of the planned high speed rail.

Catherine King

The business case, expected to be handed to the government by the end of this year, will include an estimated cost and timeframe, as well as station locations and the type of train, infrastructure minister Catherine King says.

As reported by Government News, the newly installed boss of the High Speed Rail Authority (HSRA) earlier this month said he would have a business case to the government by the end of the year after the project apparently got bogged down in the ‘planning a plan’ stage, with a business case not expected to be finished until 2026.

The then acting HSRA CEO Andrew Hyles told a rail industry conference last November that delivering an east coast high speed rail wouldn’t be quick or easy after admitting the cost of the project was likely to exceed the original estimate of $114 billion.

Mr Hyles also told delegates HSRA was planning a Pathway to Delivery report, due to be completed in 2025, which would include information about station locations, patronage forecasts, financial estimates and timeframes for delivery.

In a statement this week Ms King described the Sydney to Newcastle section as “a crucial waypoint towards the Australian government’s commitment to build a high-speed rail network on Australia’s east coast”.

She said the government had provided $78.8 million to support proper planning “and bring high speed rail in Australia one step closer to construction”.

The High Speed Rail Authority is tasked with overseeing the construction of a high speed rail network along the eastern seaboard, designed to transport passengers between urban centres and regional cities at speeds faster than at 250 kilometres an hour.

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