Within hours of tabling a motion in the Parliament this week requiring that the Government release the final report from our feasibility study into a High Speed Rail network along Australia’s eastern seaboard, Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon was forced to withdraw it.
This embarrassing turn of events could have been avoided if Ms Rhiannon had bothered to do her homework or simply picked up the phone and given my office a call. But instead she went off half-cocked, demanding the release of a document which is still being written and has not yet been handed to the Government.
The final report, which is currently being compiled by a consortium of local and international experts, will be finalised over coming months, and as with the interim version, released publicly.
After all, the study’s main purpose is to provide the information that will allow the community to have an informed debate about whether this technology should be part of Australia’s transport future.
At the last election Federal Labor put High Speed Rail back on the national agenda, pledging to commission a comprehensive study into the economic merits and financial viability of an east coast network – a commitment subsequently matched by both The Greens Party and the Federal Coalition.
A copy of the interim report, along with the study’s Terms of Reference, can be downloaded from: www.infrastructure.gov.au/rail/trains/high_speed.