Fast train priority for ACT-NSW agreement

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr and NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro announce a new memorandum of understanding at Queanbeyan Station. Photo: Supplied
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr and NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro announce a new memorandum of understanding at Queanbeyan Station. Photo: Supplied

A fast train between Canberra and Sydney will be the major focus of a collaboration between the ACT and New South Wales governments.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr and NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro announced a new cross border memorandum of understanding between the state and territory at Queanbeyan Station on Friday.

They announced a series of projects as part of the 2017-18 worklist with the overarching goal to ensure the region becomes as seamless as possible at the border.

The two men said they had put partisan politics aside to work collaboratively for the benefit of the region. Mr Barilaro commended Mr Barr’s leadership on the issue of removing state border obstacles.

“We want to make sure the border does not become an impediment to service delivery,” Mr Barilaro said.

Mr Barr described the fast train project as one of the more significant projects for the ACT government to pursue. While he would not lock in a definitive timeline he said the federal government expected a joint submission as quickly as possible and it would be “a matter of years not decades.”

Mr Barilaro sees personal benefit in the project saying: “If we can get a train under two hours I’ll never fly to Sydney again.”

He added he understood the NSW government would have to supply “the lion’s share” of project funding.

The Chief Minister said approaching opportunities for federal and international investment as a region rather than as a city provided beneficial outcomes. He highlighted the airport received international flights on the back of opening the region up to an international market.

The memorandum of understanding will also focus on increasing international air freight at Canberra Airport, improve cross border transport options, streamlining domestic violence support services and the rollout of the NDIS.