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High speed rail to Canberra is a no-brainer

High speed rail to Canberra just makes sense.High speed rail to Canberra just makes sense. Photo: Bloomberg

Recent news sees us another step closer to building high speed rail and having started the conversation in the 1980s, it’s about time we just got on with it.

But Canberra finds itself once again justifying itself as worthy of being on the map.

Despite being directly on route from Sydney to Melbourne – a spur line is simply not good enough.

We have the highest population growth in the nation.

We are outperforming almost all jurisdictions, we continue to strengthen our position as the economic hub of the region, and our contribution to the national economy far outweighs our size.

In the recent budget, the chief minister pointed out that while the ACT represents only 1.6 per cent of the population of Australia we are generating 2.5 percent of national service exports.

So why are we the forgotten capital?

Year after year, ACT infrastructure projects continue to be ignored by Infrastructure Australia, with no planned major spending by the federal government in the foreseeable future, despite nearly a million people living within 90 minutes of our city.

Infrastructure investment transforms economies, communities and cities.

High speed rail around the world connects major cities across distances far less than ours, with the capital city of those nations a critical link in the network– not just an afterthought.

As the nation’s capital, we should not be having to argue the case to be directly connected to Sydney and Melbourne, it just makes sense.

But clearly we have a lot more work to do in order to prove ourselves worthy of investment by the federal government.

Adina Cirson is the ACT executive director of the Property Council.