Deadline approaching at high-speed over rail project

AUSTRALIANS have until Sunday to have their say on the proposed $114 billion east coast high-speed rail project.

More than 30,000 people have downloaded the Phase Two report, launched earlier this year, with more than 174 submissions received in advance of the June 30 deadline.

Feedback received through submissions will help inform future consultation meetings and the work of the high speed advisory group.

The proposed route contained in the report would bring parts of the New South Wales North Coast to within two hours of Sydney and five hours of Melbourne.

Casino, Grafton and Coffs Harbour would be among 12 regional stops along the 1750km route from Brisbane to Melbourne.

The report found a HSR line would be a huge boon for regional areas by providing the opportunity for increased regional economic development.

If a future government decides to proceed with the project would be built in five stages, beginning in 2027 and finishing in 2058 at the latest.

While the cost of the project would be up to $114 billion in today's dollars, the report found that economic benefit could be as high as $2.30 for every dollar invested.

Federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said his department's High Speed Rail Unit was consulting along the preferred route with local councils, community groups and industry organisations.

He said one of the most immediate concerns was preserving corridors along the proposed route.

Mr Albanese and Nationals Leader Warren Truss were among a number of people who addressed a High Speed Rail forum hosted by the Australasian Railways Association in Canberra on Wednesday.

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