Fast train worth millions to regional Australia: Greens
A HIGH speed rail network running up Australia's east coast would be worth millions of dollars to regional communities, a report prepared for the Australian Greens party suggests.
Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon said the report, which was commissioned by Greens Deputy Leader Adam Bandt, said the report showed a high speed rail would be worth about $48 million to the east coast of Australia.
In regional communities the network would deliver dividends through improved employment options, tourism income, access to city-based services, and, for businesses, to city markets.
"The economic gains from high speed rail are clear - now the government needs to provide the financial commitment," Sen Rhiannon said.
"The report predicts High Speed Rail will bring new families to regional towns along the route, including people who can commute more easily to jobs in Sydney.
"People are attracted to the idea of living in regional North Coast towns but finding employment can be difficult.
"What High Speed Rail has been shown to do is reduce inequalities between regions like the North Coast and cities - for example by bringing new tourist and commuter visits and boosting socio-economic well-being.
"By bringing regions and towns closer together North Coast residents will also have improved access to jobs as well as health and welfare services.
"High Speed Rail will allow North Coast residents to better connect with each other, bringing flow on benefits to sports and the arts.
"This report concludes that when these economic and social benefits are included the cost of High Speed Rail is almost cut in half."