A high speed service from here to Melbourne or Canberra is the future for this region. Cathy has been very diligent in sourcing the views of locals and can see the benefits of high speed rail has can most people.
HSR benefits 'most people'? Please.
Lets start from the top - overall societal benefit. HSR productivity gains will be much lower than predicted - it's a marginal replacement for domestic air travel. Job creation? Aside from construction (which are all temporary jobs), it will have a small effect on regional cities - unless your city has a maintenance depot for it, of course. Won't be any need for drivers on a HSR network either - I'm amazed that automation hasn't hit that sector sooner.
Environmental effects? Well, the enormous volumes of CO2 produced during construction won't do it much good. Unless you have a very low CO2 electricity grid, the savings from using electricity vs aviation fuel will be minimal or possibly negative.
Ok then - here's who HSR benefits the most... businesspeople. They can afford to commute using HSR, because they can afford to commute using existing regional air services. They'll grab a nice little place in one of the regional cities along the route (inflating property demand) and commute to work... in Melbourne or Canberra (or Sydney). Why? Because that's still where all the jobs will be. As a corollary to that, real estate agents and property speculators will make a lot of money from tree-changing yuppies.
HSR will turn regional cities into dormitory suburbs for the big cities. That's not decentralisation - that's infrastructure-enabled centralisation.
So, what about people on lower incomes? Well, if HSR is going to break-even on an operational basis (perish the thought that it will amortise its construction costs) then the fare prices will be comparable to regional airfares. That's not going to be affordable for that part of the community. Of course, you could subsidise fares... but that's just sending good money after bad.
I like Cathy McGowan - I just hope that she stops parroting about all of the non-existent benefits that HSR will bring to her electorate. It's not like she has no other areas to focus her lobbying efforts on.
As an aside, she's probably got a good chance of keeping her seat in 2016, given that it looks like Sophie Mirabella will 'win' pre-selection as the Liberals candidate.