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High Speed Planning

It's been a busy time for us with the mini-conference in Sydney and Andrew McNaughton's visit to Melbourne. So I missed out on telling you about the presentation I gave to the PIA Transport Symposium in mid June.

Tim Parker, CEO of HSRA, and I gave short presentations followed by a very interactive panel session exploring the impact of high speed rail for Sydney and the Newcastle corridor.

Tim indicated the HSRA has let contracts to assist it develop the Business Case for HSR to Newcastle and a "Product Definition" outlining how HSR will be implemented in the full Brisbane-Sydney-Melbourne corridor. He said the alignment and stations were yet to be defined, but the 2013 HSR Study, and subsequent studies by the NSW Government, would be the foundation for their work. He prefers a standalone system preferably connecting Sydney Central to Newcastle.

I highlighted the settlement and economic implications for corridor, and gave examples of how the benefits of HSR were maximised by similar-sized regional cities in Europe. The presentation and a accompanying briefing paper can be found on our Resources page.

My main message is that decentralisation is a long-term strategy which requires support and commitment across a wide range of government and non-government stakeholders over many decades.  This means it needs a planning process that allows diverse levels, sectors and geographies to collaborate on regional strategies that are delivered under clear accountabilities of the relevant stakeholders involved.

A national approach to settlement and economic development planning is particularly important.  It will set the framework for decentralisation, including infrastructure delivery, urban development and business investment. Similarly, regional development planning is essential to maximise the wider economic benefits of investing in high speed rail line. 


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