New party launches to unveil high-speed rail link plans

A POLITICAL party established for the sole purpose of pushing for an east coast high-speed rail link says the September 7 election will be an "unofficial referendum" on the issue.

The Bullet Train for Australia Party launched its election campaign on the lawns of Parliament House on Tuesday.

It used the launch to unveil its plans for the first stage of the link between Melbourne and Newcastle, which it claimed would cost just 1% of federal and state budgets during the next five years and would be ready to go by the end of 2018.

In April the Federal Government released the second and final report examining a high-speed rail link between Brisbane and Melbourne, which found the project would cost $114 billion and take five decades to complete.

Under the preferred route identified in the report Grafton, Casino and Coffs Harbour would have stops, bringing them to within two hours of Sydney by rail.

Bullet Train Party president Tim Bohm said given HSR had been discussed in Australia for 30 years, the time for talk was over.

"This September will be an unofficial referendum and we think it's a no-brainer," Mr Bohm said.

"A high-speed rail network will bring Australia's transport infrastructure into the 21st century, reducing congestion issues in our cities and rejuvenating the country's regional areas,"

The party will run 18 upper and lower candidates across Victoria, New South Wales and the ACT, but none on the North Coast.

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