Anthony Albanese to pledge $500m for high-speed rail project between Sydney and Newcastle

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese will unveil Labor’s ambitious high-speed rail proposal between Sydney and Newcastle in a renewed bid to court voters in the Hunter region.

A high-speed rail project between Sydney and Newcastle will be a cornerstone project under an Albanese Labor Government, the Opposition Leader will announce on Sunday.

Anthony Albanese will head to Newcastle to court voters in the Hunter after Labor suffered significant swings against it in the region at the last election.

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The centrepiece of Mr Albanese’s speech on Sunday will be unveiling Labor’s plans for the high-speed rail which would see $500 million injected into the project in his first budget if elected.

The Sydney to Newcastle corridor will be the first chapter in achieving an east coast high-speed rail system, Mr Albanese will announce.

“If I’m elected prime minister, I want ours to be the first government that actually gets work underway on high-speed rail,” the Opposition Leader will say to a rally in Newcastle on Sunday, according to The Australian.

“My vision is for high-speed rail that runs from Brisbane to Melbourne. Creating jobs and connecting communities up and down the east coast of Australia.”

Mr Albanese will pledge that faster rail will cut the travel time to just two hours, before the high-speed rail will slash the commute to only 45 minutes.

It currently takes 2 hours and 45 minutes to travel between Newcastle and the Sydney CBD.

The region is set to grow by 200,000 people by 2040, with Mr Albanese arguing faster rail between New South Wales’ two largest cities will be needed to service a booming population.

“You’ll be able to jump on the train at 6.30pm and be at Sydney Olympic Park for the start of the Knights game,” Mr Albanese will say.

“It will make the region more connected, giving businesses opportunities for closer collaboration and integration as well as an incentive for people looking to relocate to the region.”

Labor has already unveiled plans to launch the High-Speed Rail Authority which will seek to establish high-speed rail from Melbourne to Brisbane and update the business case for the project.

The proposal was the centrepiece of the Rudd Government’s infrastructure policy and in 2013 a strategic study – launched in 2010 – proposed linking Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane with an estimated cost of $114 billion.

However, in 2013 the policy and the High Speed Rail Advisory Group was scrapped by then-prime minister Tony Abbott.

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