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Letter to DPM Truss re HSR Delivery Taskforce

Hon Warren Truss MP

Deputy Prime Minister of Australia

Parliament House

Canberra ACT 2600

22nd October 2014

Dear Deputy Prime Minister,

I am writing to inform you of the formation of a High Speed Rail Delivery Taskforce, following encouragement from Trade & Investment Minister Andrew Robb earlier this month. I have invited our colleagues Angus Taylor (Hume), David Gillespie (Lyne), Christian Porter (Pearce) and Peter Hendy (Eden-Monaro) to join in forming this vehicle with a view to taking the work already completed on this matter to the next stage. In this regard we are seeking your assistance.

At a meeting with China Metallurgical Group Corporation (MCC) and Minister Robb in August, it was made clear that high speed rail presents a major nation-building opportunity, with the single piece of infrastructure affecting a drastic shift towards decentralisation, regional development and a remedy for the cost of living pressures that plague Sydney and Melbourne.

By capturing resultant property value uplift through the quarantining of Capital Gains Tax and Stamp Duty increases we will have the capacity to contribute a sufficient deposit to flag our serious intent and invite major corporate partners to participate in a PPP arrangement.

MCC and Japan Central Rail (JCR) have expressed their considerable interest in the construction of high speed rail, with initial funding sourced from the sale of land adjoining proposed terminal and station sites and the sale of licences to operate to form a deposit. The funding of the shortfall can then be provided through a value capture mechanism. MCC and Third Railway Survey and Design Institute Group Corporation (TSDI) are currently compiling a proposal document for your consideration.

JCR have financial support from Japan Bank of International Co-operation (JBIC) but are awaiting stronger expressions of our Government’s interest before committing resources.

Our next step is to facilitate a competitive bidding process to seek tenders for this work. To limit the scope of this work we need to establish firm parameters for the design, particularly around track route, station locations, stages of delivery and strategy for funding.

The Delivery Taskforce considers it would be appropriate for our Government to reimburse the costs of failed project bids (as is common practice in large defence contract tenders) as a strong statement of our resolve to support this process. These costs would be borne by the winning tenderer.

We are seeking your guidance to progress this opportunity further.

As an initial step I have invited ICS Advisory Executive Chairman, Mr Geoff Brunsdon, and PPB Advisory Chairman, Mr Steve Parbery, to present to the Coalition Policy Committee on Infrastructure & Regional Development next Tuesday 28th October at 7.00pm in Committee Room 1R3.

This will be followed by a private dinner with both gents and members of the Delivery Taskforce in the Members & Guests Dining Room at 8.00pm.

Both you and Ann Redmond (or other staff members) are welcome to join for both of these events.

Please feel free to contact me anytime to discuss these matters further, or contact Josh Bihary in my Canberra office to confirm attendance at either event.

I have also sent a copy of this letter to Minister Robb for their engagement.

Yours sincerely,

John Alexander MP

Federal Member for Bennelong

Chair, Coalition Policy Committee on Infrastructure & Regional Development