Port and high speed rail mooted for Coffs
A CRUISE port and high speed rail connection could open Coffs Harbour to new opportunities, under two ideas being mooted by the Federal Government.
Labor spokesman for infrastructure Anthony Albanese this week introduced a private member's bill to parliament calling for a national authority to oversee plans towards making high-speed rail a reality.
The move has the support of former trade minister Andrew Robb who said international investors were ready to throw money at the project that would connect Brisbane to Melbourne in under eight hours.
Under a proposed route, Coffs Harbour would be one of 12 regional stations on an express service that would link Sydney to the Gold Coast in under three hours.
Mr Albanese said the project - priced at around $68 billion by the Australasian Railway Association - had the potential to "unlock regional areas" and "enhance economic and tourism opportunities."
Regional Development Australia is meanwhile undertaking a feasibility study assessing demand for shipping port to be based at Coffs Harbour's jetty.
The proposal has the potential for Coffs Harbour to become a cruise ship stopover and is backed by the Coffs Harbour Chamber of Commerce.
Coffs Harbour City Councillor Rodney Degens has been a long-standing supporter of the project but said financial suitability and the depth of the harbour would have to be considered.
"The harbour is the most under-utilised part of our tourism economy," he said.
"There are thousands of power boats that go past us each year and at this stage we haven't tapped into that market so it's not just about attracting cruise ships."
The report is expected to be released later this month.