The Federal Government will pump billions into rail projects as the Turnbull government’s cities program moves into top gear.

In his 2016/17 Budget Speech, Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison announced a new $10 National Rail Program to deliver rail projects across major cities.

The government will also pump $8.4 billion into the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail project and around $1.4 billion in other rail commitments.

Set to be delivered as part of the Government’s Smart Cities agenda, the National Rail Program will focus upon new rail projects both within cities and between cities and regional centres.

According to Morrison, projects which could be supported through the program include:

  • The AdeLINK program, involving a network of six new tram lines through Adelaide
  • The Brisbane City Metro project involving a high frequency, rapid transport connection running over 21 kilometres over two lines linking Eight Mile Plains, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, the University of Queensland
  • The Tullamarine Rail Link liking the city to the airport in Melbourne
  • Cross River Rail in Brisbane, and
  • The Western Sydney Airport Rail Link.

Morrison said supported projects will be subject to feasibility studies.

“It is important to invest in infrastructure, but we have to make the right choices on projects, as part of a broader economic growth strategy,” Morrison said.

Infrastructure and Transport Minister Darren Chester said the program was aimed at urban rail projects which have the capacity to shape cities and which provide opportunities for urban regeneration as well as unlocking land available for affordable housing and promotion of better integration between land use and transport planning.

“There are several once-in–a-generation, city-shaping rail projects around the country at different stages of development,” Chester said.

“These transformational rail projects have long planning and construction lead times, with high capital costs.”

The government will also put $8.4 billion into the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail Link and almost $1.4 billion into a range of other rail projects.

This includes:

  • $500 million to upgrade regional rail networks in Victoria
  • $792 million for Perth Metronet
  • $30 million towards development of a business case for Melbourne Airport Rail Link
  • $20.2 million for Murray Basin Rail building on our previous commitment, and
  • $20 million to progress business cases for faster rail connections between our major cities and their surrounding regional centres.