In the 2019-20 Budget, the Australian Government committed to the establishment of a National Faster Rail Agency to deliver on the Government’s commitment of fast rail connections between major capital cities and their regional centres, including a $2 billion commitment to deliver faster rail between Melbourne and Geelong, and the development of business cases for identified faster rail corridors.

An Executive Order was made under the Public Service Act 1999 on 29 May 2019 to establish the National Faster Rail Agency as an Executive Agency from 1 July 2019.

Our Minister

The Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure, the Hon Alan Tudge MP is responsible for the Executive Agency and the delivery of its functions. 

20-year Faster Rail Plan


  • lead the development and implementation of the Australian Government’s 20-year plan for a Faster Rail Network.
  • oversee the development of business cases with state and territory governments, ensuring that population and transport policy objectives are met.
  • identify additional rail corridors that would benefit from faster rail services over the long term, in consultation with state and territory governments, industry and stakeholders.
  • work with relevant state and territory governments in the delivery of faster rail construction projects.
  • develop an investment strategy recommending how faster rail projects can be staged to link future expenditure to investment need, and increase community and industry confidence to reduce market pressures.
  • explore alternative funding and financing options for faster rail, such as private sector contributions and value capture opportunities.
  • provide advice on options to future proof corridors for high-speed rail, including the need for technical guidelines, corridor planning and protection.

Expert Panel

The National Faster Rail Agency will be supported by an Expert Panel. The Expert Panel will provide advice to the Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure and the National Faster Rail Agency on faster rail, transport demographics and economics to inform project identification and delivery, service requirements and operating standards.

Formal appointments for the Expert Panel will be announced shortly.

Our People

The National Faster Rail Agency has engaged a skilled and experienced team to provide expert advice and support to the Australian Government on fast rail. Collectively, the team has significant expertise and experience in urban and regional infrastructure, rail program and policy development, financial and governance oversight and transport planning.

  • Acting Chief Executive Officer – Malcolm Southwell
  • General Manager – Andrew Hyles
  • Director – Policy and Planning – Fiona Carrick
  • Director – Business Case and Projects – Derek Tarry
  • Director – Corporate, Finance and People – Braden Hartcher

Together, this team will work with state and territory government officials and the Expert Panel around opportunities to deliver faster rail.

Chief Executive Officer

On 1 July 2019, Malcolm Southwell was appointed as the acting Chief Executive Officer for the National Faster Rail Agency. Malcolm has a broad range of policy, program delivery and regulatory experience across both Federal and State governments. He has worked in the fields of transport, infrastructure and natural resource management including fisheries and agriculture, as well as on project planning for Western Sydney North-South rail and Inland Rail. Malcolm’s qualifications include an Executive Masters of Public Administration from the Australian National University and a Masters of Environmental and Local Government Law from Macquarie University.

General Manager

Having overseen the development of the Australian Government’s 20-Year Faster Rail Vision and creation of the National Faster Rail Agency, Andrew Hyles took up the position of General Manager Policy and Business Case Development with the Agency on 1 July 2019. Prior to this, Andrew held senior roles in rail policy and planning, air cargo security and transport economic reform in the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development. Past roles have also encompassed transport policy, major projects and program management, regulatory reform and motoring group policy advocacy. Andrew has a Bachelor of Applied Economics.