Particularly welcome is the initiative of setting up a National Faster Rail Agency to evaluate the business case for five rail corridors along the eastern seaboard. While it is not high-speed rail it is at least a step in the right direction.
The government has already committed $2 billion towards a faster service between Geelong and Melbourne which by chance happens to pass through the most marginal electorate in the country: Corangamite. The project’s success depends on the state government tipping in the balance of funding.
Canberra recognised the importance of rail links to airports by committing $3.5b to the first stage of the Western Sydney North South Rail Link which will run from St Marys to Sydney’s new airport at Badgerys Creek.
The budget will further stoke the level of rail activity – already tipped to be $100b over the coming decade – and increase the skill shortage already evident in the industry. Hopefully the $525 million in the budget to boost the quality of vocational education and training will help alleviate that pressure.
– TONY DUBOUDIN