The NSW Business Chamber has accused the State Government’s rail transport plan of jeopodising the future prospects of a High Speed Rail network in a recently released report.


The Liveable Sydney: How would High-Speed Rail Change Sydney and NSW establishes six recommendations aimed at improving outcomes from the disparate planning mechanisms used by Federal and State Governments.


“Integrating High Speed Rail into Sydney’s existing rail network is the most cost effective option to reduce the significant construction costs of a High Speed Rail network linking Newcastle, Sydney and Canberra, and ultimately Melbourne and Brisbane,” said Stephen Cartwright, CEO of the NSW Business Chamber.
“We believe an integrated approach could cut the cost of High Speed Rail by between $10 to $15 billion dollars.”


The Chamber feels that the plans for a rapid transit system and a number of other planned rail works could ‘lock out’ the delivery of a High Speed Rail network through Sydney.


“This is not about being opposed to the North West Rail Link – far from it. It is about ensuring the right operating model is in place to cope with the growing demands of Sydney and its fringes,” Mr Cartwright said.


“This report shows that High Speed rail is not only about servicing intercity travellers – which of course remains a fundamental requirement of High-Speed Rail – but it can also help outer-suburban commuters more easily access Sydney’s employment areas, thereby improving travel times and minimising congestion.”


The six recommendations of the report are:

  1. A single transport vision for Sydney out to 2061 should be developed by the NSW and Federal Governments.
  2. The Federal and NSW Governments should integrate high-speed rail services with the Sydney suburban rail network as the initial solution until separate high-speed rail infrastructure can be economically justified.
  3. The NSW Government should revise its recent rail plan, Sydney’s Rail Future, to ensure it does not prevent high-speed rail from travelling through the Sydney CBD as a result of limiting the second harbour crossing and North West Rail Link to rapid transit rail.
  4. The NSW Government needs to shift the focus of land use and transport planning from measuring proximity to a transport service to measuring total journey time, to better reflect ‘liveability’.
  5. The NSW Government should include high-speed rail as part of its Sydney Metropolitan PlanLong Term Transport Master Plan and State Infrastructure Strategy to help address housing affordability and journey time issues.
  6. The NSW and Federal Governments should form a joint steering committee charged with determining the design and operation of high-speed rail through Sydney to feed into the Federal Government’s feasibility study on high-speed rail. 


The full report can be downloaded here (.pdf)