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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (25 August) . . Page.. 1267 ..

MS CARNELL (continuing):

The project represents real net economic benefits to Australia. The Speedrail consortium has estimated: A massive private sector investment in revitalising Australia's transport infrastructure of over $3 billion; 15,000 jobs generated during construction; and 1,800 direct and indirect jobs generated during the 30-year project. The ACT and region will strive to capture its fair share of these project benefits. The Speedrail consortium is already committed to constructing its maintenance facility in Canberra. As well as increasing employment, this will improve our skill base as our community gains the opportunity to maintain high speed trains using world's best practice.

The most enduring benefit, however, will be the linking of the national capital with Australia's international gateway by a highly competitive transport mode. This part of regional Australia will be able to operate in the dynamic business world of a large city without the penalties of distance while enjoying the lifestyle benefits of this wonderful region. As Chief Minister, I will be encouraging Speedrail to use firms from the ACT and region to help build this very exciting project. I will be encouraging members of the consortium to meet with businesses in the Australian capital region. We have tremendous skills and are competitive in industries such as construction, design, engineering, finance, logistics and environmental management - to name just a few services. The ACT Government will continue to lend strong support in realising this dramatic improvement in transport services.

My feeling is that we are only starting to realise the opportunities that high speed rail will open up for Canberra and the region. The VHST project will help realise the Government's vision for Canberra being the major transport hub in the region. Combining a high speed train with an international airport will improve linkages with Sydney and the markets of the Pacific rim. Canberra will be well positioned to benefit from new business and employment opportunities arising from our closer integration with the world economy.

Mr Speaker, this is an exciting project. It is a project on which many people, this Government included, have worked very hard to bring to this stage. It is important that everybody gets behind this project, that we put politics aside and make sure that the Speedrail proposal comes to fruition and the ACT is linked - hopefully in 2003 - with Sydney via a train that will do the distance in under an hour-and-a-half, a train that will produce significant employment, not just in Canberra but in our whole region. I present the following paper:

Governments announce Speedrail as the preferred proponent for the Canberra-Sydney VHST service - ministerial statement, 25 August 1998.

I move:

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

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