The National Faster Rail Agency is working with state and territory governments and the private sector to develop business cases and deliver faster rail construction projects. Australian Government funding for business cases has been provided on a 50:50 basis with the relevant state government and/or the private sector.

It should be noted that financial support for the development of a business case does not indicate Australian Government support for delivery of a project.

Geelong to Melbourne - Fast Rail

In the 2019-20 Budget, the Australian Government committed $2 billion to help deliver faster rail between Geelong and Melbourne. This investment builds on the Australian Government's landmark $5 billion commitment to deliver the Melbourne Airport Rail Link, which will include investigating options to increase capacity from Sunshine to the Melbourne CBD, enabling faster rail services to Geelong.

A faster rail service between Geelong and Melbourne has the potential to halve travel times, giving more time back to commuters and unlocking new economic and social opportunities for the region.

Faster Rail Prospectus business cases

Following a competitive assessment process, conducted in accordance with the assessment criteria published in the Faster Rail Prospectus, the Australian Government announced on 9 March 2018 that it would provide $20 million in matched funding for the development of three faster rail business cases. The business cases include:

  • Sydney to Newcastle
    The NSW Government is examining options to improve travel mode share (car and train) along the transport corridor from Sydney to Newcastle particularly in reducing travel time and congestion. This may lead to more affordable housing and employment opportunities.
  • Melbourne to Greater Shepparton
    Consolidated Land and Rail Australia (CLARA) is investigating building two SMART cities between Melbourne and Greater Shepparton in response to Melbourne’s expanding population needs and transport congestion.  These cities would be connected by High Speed Rail along an identified corridor significantly reducing travel times along the corridor enhancing employment and housing opportunities.
  • Brisbane to the regions of Moreton Bay and the Sunshine Coast
    The North Coast Connect Consortium (NCCC) is considering how to improve travel times from Brisbane to the regions of Moreton Bay and the Sunshine Coast. These regions are one of the fastest growing regions in Australia. Works could include improvements to the existing rail line or new rail line with the potential to improve travel times, congestion and provide job opportunities.

These business cases have been completed and are being reviewed by the Agency.  The Agency will provide advice to Government on the findings of the business cases and next steps in the coming months.

Business cases

In the 2019-20 Budget, the Government committed to fund an additional five business cases for faster rail in priority corridors. The five new faster rail business cases are on corridors that connect capital cities with major regional centres and warrant investigation due to the opportunity to shift commuter demand from road to rail. Investment in faster rail has the potential to stimulate regional growth and provide access to jobs, services, housing and amenities.

The five additional business cases under investigation include:

  • Sydney to Wollongong
    A faster rail connection between Sydney and Wollongong would consolidate the corridor’s significant role to the nation’s economy and would unlock more affordable housing opportunities in the region by reducing journey times between Sydney and Wollongong.
  • Sydney to Parkes (via Bathurst and Orange)
    Faster passenger rail services in this corridor would strengthen the economic productivity of these regional centres and connect people to jobs, services and affordable housing by exploring opportunities to significantly reduce travel times.
  • Melbourne to Albury-Wodonga
    Albury-Wodonga is a significant regional hub between Melbourne and Sydney with good potential for further economic and population growth. A faster rail connection will assist the major diversified regional and agricultural economy in the south east of Australia.
  • Melbourne to Traralgon
    A business case for the Melbourne to Traralgon rail corridor would facilitate the identification of issues, necessary upgrades and future works needed for the introduction of faster rail services that would significantly reduce travel times along this corridor.
  • Brisbane to the Gold Coast
    Improvements in the capacity of the rail line between Brisbane and the Gold Coast would reduce overcrowding during peak periods and potentially help reduce congestion on the M1 Motorway. Journey times from Brisbane to the Gold Coast could also be significantly reduced.