Today's @GrattanInst report basically tells Australia "you've got the regional train network you deserve".

32pgs say fast trains are expensive (true)

40pgs say better rail alone won't fix regional Aus (true)

Zero mentions of Syd-Melb train fatal accident in Feb.
I'll say it again. Accident on the line b/w our 2 biggest cities 3 months ago due to decades of under investment, 2 staff dead.

No mention in 14p section "rail renovation might be worthwhile" of what led to accident & whether it might be worthwhile avoiding another.
No discussion of very cheap, very easy ways to make regional rail better. Eg:
Wifi on trains.
Phone reception on trains.
More trains
Dining cars.
Affordable basic sleepers.
Direct/express services.
Booking system that doesn't feature long-disused stations!
Could go on.
Oh hang on, here we go:
"Govs should do more to identify the myriad small projects with potentially high net benefits..."

<<nods enthusiastically>>
..."that may be dispersed all over the city. Examples include increasing bus services..."

Huh?! WTF? Cities need more buses so don't invest in regional rail?! #chewgumwalkcan
They're right, of course - bullet trains aren't viable in a country with no culture of rail travel.

I've long said that while my occasional trip CBR-Melb by train is a conversation starter (OMG, really?! There's a train?!) then we can't possibly have a shinkansen.
But that doesn't mean rail does not or should not play an important role in regional development.

It means that researchers need to do better than cheap shots at the latest half baked fast train headline grab & do some thinking and advocacy about our actual transport situation.
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