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Wednesday, 29 April 1987
Page: 1983


Senator FOREMAN —My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Transport. The Minister is no doubt aware that the South Australian and Federal governments have been discussing building a bullet style train link from Adelaide to Melbourne. It has been reported that such a train would travel between the two cities in four hours and at speeds of up to 270 kilometres per hour. Will the Minister state the expected cost and the feasibility of such a project?


Senator GIETZELT —I am aware of the Press reports in a Melbourne newspaper which refer to a bullet train service between Melbourne and Adelaide. The Government would naturally be supportive of that proposal. The fast train concept was recently discussed in a wide ranging discussion of issues between Mr Bannon and the Minister, but of course there are many problems to be ironed out in respect of the proposal before the matter can be proceeded with. The main substance of the discussion in the initial stages was the standardisation of the rail link between Melbourne and Adelaide. When that point has been agreed upon by the Commonwealth and the State, the fast train service obviously will have to adopt that proposal. That naturally and normally would raise the question of the costs involved in standardising the rail link. Adelaide and Melbourne, I am advised, are the only mainland capital cities on the rail network not connected to each other by a standard gauge, which means that it becomes a priority to accept any suggestions of improving the quality of the service between the two capital cities. Australian National, I am advised, has undertaken a preliminary evaluation of the project. However, I have to tell Senator Foreman that it has been unable to reach agreement on such matters as capital costs, potential markets and new traffic. In the current economic circumstances, no matter how good the project is it requires a large capital outlay.