Wednesday, 23 November 2022
High Speed Rail Authority Bill 2022; Second Reading
I was in continuation before we got rudely interrupted by hard markers, which are an essential part of business in this place. Just to wrap up my remarks: before I was interrupted by the hard marker, I was waxing lyrical about the 'Utopian' nature of high-speed rail in this country. I'd mentioned how many attempts we've had at setting up high-speed rail agencies, doing investigations, doing desktop audits, looking at maps on tabletops and considering high-speed rail around the world and what could and could not work for Australia. We continue to come up against the fact that we've got a huge continent and a sparse population.
We all agree that we need high-speed rail. We all agree that high-speed rail would be a very good thing for passengers, for freight and for the environment, as we heard from the Greens in their contribution. We all agree it's a great thing. What we don't agree on is how to go about it. I implore the government: instead of renaming another agency—instead of shuffling papers and bums on seats—actually look at the work that has been done. Look at the work that our government initiated with the Newcastle-to-Sydney faster rail upgrades, take that work and let's see something come to fruition instead of starting all over again and reinventing the wheel. If it's not Utopia, it's Groundhog Day. Quite frankly, I, for one, am well and truly over it and would just like to see movement at the station—pardon the pun.