The proposal to build a high speed rail link from Melbourne to Brisbane via Canberra and Sydney is being discussed in government and industrial circles with support from the media. The success of such ventures in a number of countries is put forward as a good reason to improve transportation between these major eastern Australian cities. Financial, economic, employment, social and environmental factors have been weighed up in these considerations. The lessons learned in other high speed rail implementations have been taken into account in the proposal. They convey the impression that Australian economy would be markedly boosted by the link without any serious deleterious environmental or social consequences.
This proposal is a typical example of the myopic view of the powerful in society. It takes into account only the practicalities of its installation and the perceived benefits. It does not mention the consumption of vast amounts of the limited stored natural resources for its construction, operation and maintenance. It blithely ignores the fact that the rail system would have a limited lifetime. But, of course, that failure to take into account reality is not an Australian characteristic. It is a global disease. The powerful in society have the grand delusion that technological systems can everlastingly provide human beings with services by conjuring natural resources out of thin air!