The Hunter Business Chamber has welcomed a new inquiry into options for financing faster rail by the federal government’s Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Cities.
The committee, chaired by Bennelong MP John Alexander, will look at financing options for eleven routes identified in the federal government’s Faster Rail Plan including the Newcastle to Sydney link.
Hunter Business Chamber CEO, Bob Hawes, said the Chamber was pleased to see the government prioritising faster rail and, significantly, considering funding options.
“Faster rail is a realistic objective, achievable in the medium term, that could make enormous difference to the Hunter by increasing the flow of commuter traffic and investment in both directions,” Bob said.
“Reducing the journey time will make it easier for people living here who need to travel to Sydney for business, but it’s not about making the Hunter a dormitory for people who want to work in Sydney.”
Bob said that with faster rail, this could encourage investors to consider the Hunter region for business opportunities and growth.
“Greater connectivity and faster travel time will encourage investors to bring their businesses and staff here, to take advantage of lower property and rental prices, the positive business environment and lifestyle opportunities,” he said.
“The Chamber believes investment in faster rail is nation-building infrastructure that will boost economic development in the Hunter.”
The federal inquiry follows the NSW Government’s appointment in December 2018 of high-speed rail expert Professor Andrew McNaughton to lead an expert panel looking into how the government should best deliver a fast rail network to connect the state.
The NSW Government’s Fast Rail Strategy is due for completion before the end of the year.
IMAGE | Hunter Business Chamber encourages faster rail for Hunter region to boost economic development