The Meeting Place

Where was money for high speed rail in the Budget?

The idea of linking Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney with a high speed rail network has been on the table since 1984 when Prime Minister Bob Hawk tabled the plans.

34 years later, we are still talking about the same proposal. $125m has been spent by successive governments on studies and we are no closer to a metre of track being built.

“It is now time for Australia to commit to medium-speed rail, trains operating on new or existing tracks at speeds of between 160km and 250km/h,” Professor Rico Merkert, from the University of Sydney’s Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies wrote in The Conversation this week.

It's clear to anyone who has travelled on the current tracks in Australia's major states that the infrastrucuture is lacking for this type of expansion and that any improvement to our system will require new tracks and faster trains.

Private equity groups such as CLARA have suggested bold plans to create high speed rail networks with little cost to the Government. While these bold plans have merit, it hands over the countries infrastucture future to a private company funded out of Asia.

It's about time a Government set down a 10-year plan and stuck to it on high speed rail, or we will be left in the past, like what has happened with the NBN.


It takes Australia 60 years to build an airport, 40 plus years to biuld a rail connection. China could build a city with population of 25m around us while we argue about it. We have a huge bottle neck and we all know where it is. Unions, Getup, Greens and their influence over the ALP. I might add abley supported by a population of short term thinkers.

We need to stand up to the Unions and get the Japanese in to build it.

Yes it seems to be that by the time anything gets built, it is out of date ... third world countries have superior infrastructure

Your normal government spiel Adrianus.

Please tell me about the NBN. Build started by Labor and butchered by Malcolm Turnbull.  Now we have a dog's breakfast which has cost more than the original real NBN.

At the same time this government has more than DOUBLED the national debt....and achieved little.

Before you start your normal round of Labor and union bashing please explain WHAT MAJOR SOCIAL INFRASTRUCTURE your sponsor has achieved in the past 20 years?  End of argument!  Troll!

We will never  get such infrastructure built while there is an LNP government selling off our future focussed  totally on short term gain and staying in power whatever the cost to truth,  honesty  and ignoring the greater good  and what is actually best for Australia, driving us further into debt.

(twice  the debt of the last LABOR government with no end of the LNP debt crisis in sight)

Don't forget $80 BILLION of the country's money handed out to the rich who totally have no need of it.  

I simply do not follow your argument at all.  I have seen no action whatsoever on the part of the present government or previous liberal governments in promoting fast rail in this vast country; they certainly lack benind most countries in providing fast rail between capital cities and between larger towns anywhere. Of course this would definitely mean a large increase in labour, as this would take many years to fulfill.

They simply waste vast amounts of money in the wrong direction!

Yet another Royal Commission into the Labor Party and into the Union Movement?  Whatever came out of any of thes?  Nil! 

Just 2 days ago the case alleging that the CFMEU was involved in corrupt behaviour by preventing Boral from supplying cement to builders was suspiciously DROPPED.  Why would you drop a case if the other party was guilty? The answer is it was a politically motivated scheme to blacken your opponent during an election campaign.  

Bring on the federal ICAC promised by Shorten.  Needed right now before this government wastes more money on the next malicious attack.

You crack me up Drew.  Always good to see a sense of humour of a Friday.

High Speed Rail?  You'll get that in many countries but NOT IN AUSTRALIA.  Why?  Because our politicians are into squandering our money and delivering little other than Royal Commissions and talk fests designed to make people feel good.  Of course when the services are never provided they don't feel good........but rarely able to join the dots.

Whilst everybody knows I have no love of the current government governing for the rich alone I again need to point out that the deficits has MORE THAN DOUBLED under the current lot with almost zero to show for it in times with no GFC.

Don't hold your breath on a high speed rail link.  Germay has one.  France has one.  Italy has one Japan has numerous.  AUstralia never will.  It is one of the election lies designed to harvest your vote.  I would vote against ANY party which promises big projects like this and then shelve them after the election.  So should all of us.


Yes I can agree with your first concept. Whatever became of the Julia Gillard  $1,000,000 donation to Tony Windsor for his talk fest? I think it was on global warming? Did anything come out of that?


Hold your breath folks, we will get our high speed rail with no cost to the Aussie taxpayer according to CLARA - the money will come from Asia. Start learning mandarin, will come in useful.

CFMEU  now complaining because they are in a high tax level and complaining to Labour not to stop negative gearing because it would affect their investments. 3000 aud a week and I,m on 600

I say vote labour and get ridof the CFMEU highwaymen

One thing most people seem to ignore about Australia is the "tyranny of distance". Sure other countries have better infrastructure than we have, but they are usually smaller than Australia and many times the poulation. For instance compare Japan with Australia:

Japan: Land area less than 400000 square km, Population 126 million, GDP $5.6 trillion

Australia: land area 7600000 square km, population 24 million, GDP $1.5 trillion.

In comparison Japan has approximately half the land area of NSW and 5 times the population of the whole of Australia.

Do the maths yourself and work out how we could afford these 'pie-in-the-sky' schemes. They are nice to think about but impractical to implement given our large size and small population.

Eddy, you are right, Australia's "tyrany of distance" is a problem, but we are not talking about our problems so much as what we havent done about the problems. And it appears we are possibly incapable of implementing solutions to these problems.


I thgought the discussion was about a high speed rail network so I constrained my comment to that subject. There are probably hundreds of 'problems' which are well within our means to solve, an example is the Victorian governments removal of level crossings from the train network. This is an example of an achieveable solution, not an unachieveable, unaffordable project just because other countries have it. Canada is a good comparison to Australia. They do not have a high speed rail considering many of their major cities (ie Toronto, Quebec, Montreal) are much closer toghether compared to Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane.