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Geelong Advertiser Opinion Piece - Geelong on track with planning for high-speed rail

The Committee for Geelong welcomes news that the Victorian State Government will kick-start work on a high-speed rail link between Geelong and Melbourne, with detailed planning and technical investigations to determine a preferred option. As Victoria's Second City transforms, an evidence-based transport strategy is vital to ensure that appropriate public transport services are implemented long into Geelong's future, promising significant benefits to our business community and the broader city-region. 

The Victorian State Government's $50 million investment will provide detailed investigations of fast rail infrastructure upgrades; costs; train requirements; the possible electrification to Geelong along the existing rail corridor; and new high speed rail alignments with new rolling stock. Additionally, the investigation will also consider a new fleet of dedicated trains capable of travelling high speeds, all which will further form the joint preliminary business case for the Melbourne Airport Rail Link between Victoria and the Commonwealth. Whilst there will always be sceptics, the Committee for Geelong is optimistic about this funding being used positively to plan for Geelong's future. 

The Committee has long been a supporter of faster rail connections between Geelong and Melbourne, including the improvement of public transport connections in and around our city-region.  OurGeelong on Trackpolicy, published in 2014, details the importance of a comprehensive, evidence-based, 25-50 year passenger and freight strategy to provide an adequate basis for transport planning - one that is tailored to Geelong's needs. As Australia's second fastest growing city, it is imperative that Geelong has a transport system that can accommodate a population boom. Considering Geelong is currently one of Victoria's busiest rail lines, the high-speed rail planning funding is a fantastic opportunity to leverage Geelong 's growth and investigate how this type of infrastructure can make a difference to both Victoria's second city and the State.

For Geelong to continue its transformation into a clever and creative city-region, it is imperative that all limitations and potential opportunities are addressed to provide the best outcomes for the future. As evidenced by our international research,Winning from Second: What Geelong can learn from international second cities, high speed rail connections can cause catalytic change to the way people live and work in cities and regions. This includes significant benefits to the community and businesses, with travel times slashed and a potential boost in employment opportunities.

Of course, connectivity from Geelong to Victoria's two main airports is imperative to the continual transformation of our city-region. Given this, it is good to hear that the Victorian State Government's planning will also consider rail connectivity to Avalon Airport. Establishing such a link to Victoria's second major airport would well-position Geelong into the next century, and provide our city-region with much needed transport infrastructure connecting our community to the world.

So, what does this all mean for Geelong's business community?  Well, businesses will have the opportunity to further thrive if a faster rail service was established to better connect our city-region. Not only would it be a key driver for our visitor economy, it would also further leverage the development of Geelong by bringing more people here to live and work; all potentially using the services provided by local businesses.  This is why it is so important to invest now in planning for Geelong's future.  It is vital to ensure that our community is not left behind.



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What Geelong Can Learn From International Second Cities


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