Indeed, Japan has played an important role in international forums. Twice as a minister in the previous government I was able to go to Japan, and on a number of occasions I was able to host here in Australia infrastructure delegations from Japan. Japan was critical in forming the MEET, as it was known—the ministerial council on energy and emissions in transport. Japan understood that, in playing an important role in the development of the Kyoto Protocol—the global foundation that came out of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, held in Kyoto—we need to work cooperatively as an international community to drive down our emissions, and one of the ways we can do that is in the transport sector. That’s why Japan has been at the forefront of the development of electric vehicles and zero-emissions transport.
Japan’s success in the postwar period has been put down to many things, but one critical factor is the development of high-speed rail. With the Shinkansen, they were ahead of the rest of the world in having the vision of being able to transport large numbers of people in very short periods of time, and they continue to lead the world in that technology. They have much to offer Australia as we seek to develop a high-speed rail network down the east coast. Just as high-speed rail stacks up in Japan, just as it has led to significant economic development along the routes in regional centres in Japan, Australia has much to gain from high-speed rail. So I look forward to continuing to have discussions with executives from the Japanese rail sector on how their knowledge can provide a basis of support for the development of high-speed rail here in Australia. We know that it stacks up, with a return of more than $2 for every dollar of investment between Sydney and Melbourne, and we know that it could be a major factor in developing our regional economies, taking pressure off the capital cities on the east coast.
I commend the resolution to the House and I look forward to strengthening the friendship between Australia and Japan in the future.