The National Faster Rail Agency will work with state and territory governments and/or the private sector in the development of business cases and the delivery of faster rail construction projects.

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 Business Cases

In the 2019-20 Budget, the Government also committed to fund an additional five business cases for faster rail in priority corridors between Sydney and Wollongong, Sydney and Parkes (via Bathurst and Orange), Melbourne and Albury-Wodonga, Melbourne and Traralgon, and Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

These projects build on the Australian Government’s $20 million commitment in the 2017-18 Budget to fund three faster rail business cases for Melbourne to Greater Shepparton, Sydney to Newcastle, and Brisbane to the regions of Moreton Bay and the Sunshine Coast.

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, the potential to stimulate regional growth and provide access to jobs, services, housing and amenity.

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 the 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 as the centre of a major diversified regional and agricultural economy in south east 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 to 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.

Next Steps

Australian Government funding for these business cases will be 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.

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 will provide $20 million in matching funding for the development of three business cases, which includes the Consolidated Land and Rail Australia (CLARA) business case, the NSW Government's Sydney to Newcastle business case and the North Coast Connect Consortium business case for faster rail between Brisbane and the regions of Moreton Bay and the Sunshine Coast.

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 will be connected by High Speed Rail along an identified corridor significantly reducing travel times along the corridor enhancing employment and housing opportunities.

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.

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.

Next Steps

Work is progressing on the three business cases and they are expected to be completed by late 2019.

The final completed business cases for each of the three projects will be considered in the context of the government’s wider infrastructure priorities and future Budgets. Any future funding commitments will take into account state and private sector financial support.

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.