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High-speed rail link between Brisbane, Melbourne "high priority" for Australian industry: report

Xinhua,March 27, 2018 Adjust font size:

CANBERRA, March 27 (Xinhua) -- Australia's peak infrastructure body has urged the country's eastern states to support a 30 billion Australian dollars (23.3 billion U.S. dollars) inland rail line project from Melbourne to Brisbane to cater for growing industry demands.

Infrastructure Australia (IA) claimed on Tuesday the current rail connection along the eastern seaboard was inadequate for the requirements of industry, and a new, high-speed link needed to be built as a "high-priority initiative."

IA said that the state governments of Queensland, New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria should construct the 1,700 km freight line between Melbourne and Brisbane, via inland NSW, to meet the future demand for freight transport.

The rail line was a high priority because the combined population of Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane was projected to exceed 30 million by 2075.

IA published on Tuesday its latest list of major infrastructure projects and chair Julieanne Alroe, said in a media release: "This is a challenge we can't afford to manage passively -- we must plan for growth."

The net cost of protecting and acquiring the corridor would be 23.3 billion U.S. dollars, according to IA's modelling in 2017.

The independent body predicted that freight between the state capital cities would grow from roughly 4.9 million tons in 2016 to approximately 13 million tons, or 1.1 million containers, by 2050.

It suggested that in 10 to 15 years, the proposed new trains would eventually be able to carry up to 485 containers each.

"The future demand for efficient, high-capacity transport services between major centers on the east coast will likely exceed the capacity of existing and planned rail, road and aviation services," IA stated in publishing its priority list.

IA also identified other priority initiatives, such as the reconstruction of Adelaide's suburban tram network, which was proposed by the former South Australian Labor government. Enditem