Funding of AU$2bn (£1.07bn) will be used for the route, which is intended to cut the 80km journey time in half to 32 minutes.
Its average speed of 160km/h would be the fastest of any rail line in the country.
The plan is line with an Australian government initiative to take pressure off the big cities and support the growth of the regions. The government’s 20-year fast rail plan also invests AU$40m for detailed assessments of five additional corridors, complementing the three presently under way that the federal government has funded, and others that state governments are funding.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the investment in infrastructure would give time back to commuters and enable more people to live in our regions and work in our cities. “This is all part of our plan to manage population growth that I announced this week to take the pressure off our big cities like Melbourne and make our regional cities like Geelong even more attractive places to live and work,” he said. “As our population grows, fast rail networks are crucial to easing the congestion pressures in our cities and shaping Australia’s future.
“Geelong is a strong growing regional centre, but transport connectivity to Melbourne is constrained by existing infrastructure."