A consortium of 13 Australian companies have pledged their support to the mutlibillion-dollar fast rail and smart city project along the Melbourne to Sydney corridor led by Consolidated Land and Rail Australia Pty Ltd (CLARA).
The private group said it will continue to reach out to additional companies as the consortium grows.
The announcement follows a draft 40-year transport plan recently released by Transport for NSW and growing discussions between the ACT and state government for fast rail.
Only three business cases will be approved by the federal government as part of the $20 million Faster Rail Initiative Prospectus, and both CLARA and Transport for NSW has put a bid for the funding grant.
So far, the federal government has yet to set an announcement date for the three successful applicants.
CEO Nick Cleary said the project, which will see the construction of eight smart cities – two between Goulburn and Sydney expected to hold about 300,000 people and a high speed rail – has “ticked all the boxes”.
“This consortium we put together is some of the greatest Australian companies I think we can find. Collectively, they have made $100 billion capital investment in Australia. We have the likes of Cardno, one of NSW largest urban development engineer, DLA Piper and the CSIRO,” Mr Cleary said.
He said CLARA was “not in competition” with the state government’s project and described the proposals as “very different”.
“CLARA is in favour of improving any transport infrastructure between Canberra and Sydney,” he said.
“This is something the government is dealing with. As a nation we understand the impact the growing population is going to have on our current infrastructure, where people will live, work and enjoy their lives. This is the CLARA plan. We’re not the solution, but part of the solution.”
Construction is planned to begin in 2021 and the first smart city built in 2026.
Three councils between Sydney and Canberra, including the Goulburn Mulwaree Council, have signaled their support. The Wingecarribee Shire Council have not.
“It wasn't necessary for the Wingecarribee Shire Council to sign their support yet. Their commentary is that they are waiting for more information. We will continue to communicate with local government areas where the project will be advantageous for their communities,” he said.
“As the momentum builds and the public finds it more real, there will be an opportunity to advance into rezoning, and make CLARA a reality.”