When you hear “high speed rail link between Melbourne and Sydney” for most of us a typical image of a high-speed train powering through the countryside comes to mind, stopping maybe at a few remote towns just outside of the cities to help time-poor commuters. The route between Sydney and Melbourne is the third busiest air route in the world, so a land based version that lets you avoid airport security queues and expensive taxi rides would be welcomed by many.
This isn’t a Government initiative but has been proposed by a private company, the Consolidated land and Rail Australia (CLARA), who have stated that they won’t be relying solely on Government funding but have a different idea altogether on how they plan on funding the $200 billion project. In March CLARA met with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull who announced his support for the high-speed rail project the following month.
This all sounds pretty standard (aside from the lack of Government funding) until you question, where are they getting the money from for the project then? Well this is where it gets interesting. What we haven’t mentioned so far is that as well as having a fast train between Sydney, stopping off at Canberra, and then Melbourne, they also plan to develop as many as 8 NEW cities on the train line (2 in Victoria and 6 in New South Wales, so far anyway). Still not understand where the funding is going to come from? It will rely on profits made from the transformation of existing farm land into new developments; these new developments would benefit from the new infrastructure and therefore increase in value.
“Because CLARA has the land for new cities development our business model projects a commercially viable project that should not call for taxpayer funding” the company’s website states. “CLARA’s pre-feasibility business model has the city sites and rail infrastructure being privately funded through the use of land value capture. Unlike other proposals for high speed rail in the pas, CLARA’s infrastructure can be paid for from the city development rather than from Government coffers”.
WOW! This all sounds fantastic on paper, especially given that cities like Sydney and Melbourne have massive congestion problems on the road (hence the Light Rail project in Sydney that is in full swing, to try to help the transport problem in the city) and are becoming increasingly overpopulated. Would you live in the city when your commute from one of the new utopian cities is less than your current commute to work away? Here’s what they say about the new cities – “New cities where data is open. Energy is renewable. Water is valued. Homes are affordable. People can live within 10 minutes of all they need. Cities where world class healthcare meets high tech education. Where new and existing businesses will converge to create more vibrant regional economies. Cities built to unlock all human potential”.
Are you convinced? We’re not sure we are but it certainly sounds amazing! If all goes to plan it could kick off within the next five years (fantastic for the jobs industry in NSW and VIC, not to mention a labour hire company like ourselves that have hundreds of qualified candidates for those sort of rail construction roles!) and be completed as soon as 2045. Will it happen? Well since plans were announced in July everything has been pretty quiet since, no doubt due to the extensive amount of planning and negotiation involved, but we’ll keep you posted on any updates on our blog so keep an eye out.
If you are currently involved in rail construction, whether you are looking to hire rail construction workers or are looking for rail construction jobs, then look no further than BriX Projects. Give us a call on 1800 779 388 or contact us today to speak to one of our friendly team for more information.