The Australian Government is seeking submissions for the co-funding of up to three business cases for faster rail initiatives nationally, following the release of the Faster Rail Initiative Prospectus.

The Government announced $20 million would be allocated to the initiative with the policy objectives outlined in the budget summary, being to:

  1. Ease the pressure off capital cities
  2. Boost regional economies
  3. Open up land for more housing

Consolidated Land and Rail Australia (CLARA) has made a submission to the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.

The CLARA consortium to present the CLARA Proposal includes 13 companies that have the necessary breadth of skills, capacity, and resources to ensure CLARA prepares a comprehensive business case under this initiative.

CLARA is planning to lodge a submission for two rail corridors, being Sydney to Canberra, including three new CLARA SMART, sustainable, greenfield cities; and Melbourne to Greater Shepparton, including two  such cities.

The CLARA Plan can be delivered with no requirement for government capital. CLARA modelling, which will be included in the business case and overseen with the assistance of PwC, demonstrates a commercially viable project which will benefit all stakeholders, including the local communities it is already working with. CLARA will use value creation to underpin the large-scale infrastructure involved in building faster rail along its corridors and the major infrastructure within its new cities.

Since the announcement of CLARA’s proposal, they have received written support from two councils along the Melbourne to the Greater Shepparton Region corridor , and three councils along the Sydney to Canberra corridor .

Councils proving their support include Greater Shepparton Council and Strathbogie Shire Council in Victoria, and Goulburn Mulwaree Shire Council, Yass Valley Shire Council and Cootamundra Gundagai Regional Council in New South Wales.

This support follows CLARA’s engagement with these existing communities. CLARA’s view is that community will, generated by community engagement, is critical to the success of any proposed rezoning, and the ultimate success of the CLARA Plan, for new regional cities.

There are always advantages and disadvantages to any plan of similar scale to the CLARA cities plan. However, CLARA strongly believes that the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages for the existing regional communities along the corridor. These advantages include:

  •      Access to more jobs
  •      Greater access to all levels of education
  •      Access to a greater population base as consumers of existing regions’ agricultural and other industry products
  •      Advanced healthcare options
  •      A train that would transport community members to the relevant CBD of Sydney, Melbourne or Canberra in under 35 minutes
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