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Fast train priority for Farrer

Friday, 23rd August, 2013

By Kurtis J Eichler

A Bullet Train for Australia party candidate for Farrer at the looming federal election says high-speed rail will transform the way Broken Hill people travel.

Albury mum of four and first-time federal election contender Tracey Powell is trying to sell the idea that Australia needs a train travelling at speeds up to 250km/h before any other infrastructure project.

The personal trainer is studying a Diploma in Business and living in a regional city with a young family makes it hard for her to get courses.

“The sooner we can get this one operating the better off everyone in Australia will be,” Ms Powell told the BDT.

The idea of a bullet train is not new. Labor floated the idea, saying a line from Melbourne to Brisbane would cost a whopping $114 billion and take 40 years to build.

A high-speed rail study found 144km long tunnels would need to be dug with a single 67km trench underneath Sydney.

It also found taxpayers would need to chip their fair share to get the plan off the ground.

The train would carry 84 million people annually when it was completed in 2058.

But Ms Powell says this project - which she says would cost $50 billion - takes priority over everything else - including the National Broadband Network roll out.

“It’s going to benefit the economy and it’s going to create 150,000 jobs.”

For the people of Broken Hill, it would change the way they travel.

“It’s going to free up the rail lines for 100 per cent freight,” she said.

“So the iron ore and all the rest can be taken along and delivered for freight.”

Ms Powell was notably absent from Wednesday night’s public forum which saw seven of the nine contenders slug it out for the votes of the people.

“I’ve been out crook,” she said.

Mayor Wincen Cuy - who owns and operates a travel business - said the plan was not suited to regional areas.

“A fast train between Sydney and Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne, I really think would be absolutely sensational,” Mayor Cuy said.

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