Fast Train Fever - Webinar Event - Grattan Institute

Should Australia dump the decades-old dream of building a bullet train from Brisbane to Melbourne via Sydney and Canberra?

The east-coast bullet train advocated by the federal ALP could be an expensive folly: Australia’s small population and vast distances present major economic and environmental risks.

How realistic is the notion that upgrades to regional rail would ease population pressures on our major capitals and boost struggling regional cities and towns?

What’s the best way for governments to help commuters get to work in the booming outer suburbs of the capital cities?

The alternative of renovating rail lines to boost train speeds from capital cities to surrounding regions is less expensive and might be worth doing – but these renovations are unlikely to fulfil all the wishful thinking of their proponents.

Join our expert panel at this Grattan Institute/National Library of Australia webinar for a lively discussion about two sides of this debate – and join in by submitting your questions.

Event details
Wednesday 22nd July, noon-1pm

Register here 


Marion Terrill is Transport and Cities Program Director at Grattan Institute. Her previous experience ranges from authoring parts of the 2010 Henry Tax Review to leading the design and development of the MyGov account. She has provided expert analysis and advice on labour market policy for the Commonwealth Government, the Business Council of Australia, and at the Australian National University. Since joining Grattan in 2015, Marion has published on investment in transport infrastructure, cost overruns, congestion charging, and most recently, fast trains.

Gabriel Metcalf is the CEO of the Committee for Sydney, a role he has held since January 2019. The Committee for Sydney is a research and advocacy organisation that works with leaders across Sydney to solve the problems of today and tomorrow. From 2005 to 2018, he served as the President and CEO of SPUR, an urban policy research and advocacy group for the San Francisco Bay Area. Gabriel has led initiatives on housing, transport, economic development, and climate adaptation, among other topics, striving to bring together both vision and practicality.


Kat Clay our moderator, is Head of Digital Communications at Grattan Institute. She has more than 12 years of experience in digital content and creative services across the non-profit and government sectors. In previous roles she produced successful digital and video marketing campaigns for Cancer Council Victoria and SecondBite. Kat is a published author and self-confessed train tragic. Her most memorable train experiences include catching the Shanghai maglev, the overnight train from Hanoi to Hue, and a slow local train through the Transylvanian winter.