Labor says Australia needs "genuine" high-speed rail project to link big cities with regional centres.
A “fast rail” project involving links between Melbourne and Shepparton, Sydney and Newcastle and Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast formed part of a population plan released by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday.
However, Mr Morrison said details would be revealed in the April 2 budget.
Opposition infrastructure spokesman Anthony Albanese said the coalition had ignored the 2013 Labor government blueprint for high-speed rail connecting Brisbane and Melbourne via Sydney and Canberra.
In 2013 the former federal Labor government published a detailed feasibility study which found a line between Brisbane and Melbourne via Sydney and Canberra would produce $2 of public benefit for every $1 invested.
An independent panel then recommended the creation of a High Speed Rail Authority to advance the project and begin acquisition of the corridor, but the work was shelved.
“As the government scrambles for solutions to traffic congestion exacerbated by its own neglect and lack of infrastructure investment, it pretends it is acting by periodically re-announcing its ‘faster rail’ proposal,” Mr Albanese said.
“Genuine high-speed rail down Australia’s east coast would allow people to move between capital cities in as little as three hours at speeds of up to 350km per hour.”