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High-speed rail should start 2013: Greens

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CANBERRA, Nov 28 AAP

November 28 2012, 09:55AM

Work on building a high-speed rail network on Australia's east coast should start as soon as next year to take advantage of the economic and environmental benefits, the Australian Greens say.

The party on Wednesday released new modelling that outlines about $48 billion in economic benefits to come from building the network.

It also says high-speed rail would lead to shorter commute times, reduced congestion, fewer accidents, and less pollution.

Greens deputy leader Adam Bandt said with the $48 billion in benefits, the costs of building the network would almost halve.

"The case for high-speed rail, not only environmentally but economically, is now overwhelming," he told reporters in Canberra.

"It's time the government got moving and started to build it next year."

High-speed rail would mean the government could also defer, if not abandon, its plans to build second Sydney airport, Mr Bandt said.

The study into building a high-speed rail network was part of the agreement between the Greens and Labor to form a minority government.