CLARA Assembles Consortium to Deliver High Speed Rail

After receiving formal government support, the Consolidated Land and Rail Australia (CLARA) group have assembled a team to bring their plan to the Federal Government’s Faster Rail Initiative Prospectus.

Forming the consortium that will deliver the CLARA rail proposal will be Hitachi, Cardno, CSIRO, DLA Piper, McCrindle Research, Slattery QS and Advisory, Roberts Day, Clarke Hopkins Clarke, V2i, Power Ledger, The Space Agency, SilverSun Pictures and New Best Friend graphic design.

Financial modelling will be undertaken by PwC, who will join CLARA after stage one of the prospectus process.

[Related reading: High-Speed Vision for Five New Cities Connecting Canberra, Sydney Melbourne]

“It is exciting to announce the great team CLARA has put together to prepare and execute the CLARA Plan,” CLARA chief executive Nick Cleary said.

“This is also a wonderful time for our nation as we undertake the challenge of housing the additional 16.7 million more Australians between now and 2061.”

While no clear detail has been released regarding the CLARA Plan, it is known that it includes a high speed rail system connecting Melbourne to Sydney via Canberra, and will also plan the construction of eight new smart cities, starting from Melbourne to Shepparton track, from Canberra, Goulburn and finally completing in Sydney.

The Sydney to Canberra corridor will deliver 501,000 new dwelling allotments over a 35 year build out, accommodating approximately 1.2 million people. The Melbourne to Shepparton corridor will bring to market 334,000 new dwelling allotments accommodating 801,000 people.

According to CLARA’s initial plans, in construction phase alone over 55,000 jobs will be created in the Sydney to Canberra corridor and over 45,000 jobs in the Melbourne to Greater Shepparton corridor.

CLARA is also working with “employment sponsors” from the United States and Asia who will provide the initial 5,000 to 10,000 jobs in each of our new cities. This will act as a magnet for small to medium enterprises who will provide the true job generation as the city evolves.

[Related reading: High Speed Sydney-Melbourne Rail Bid on its Way to the Top]

“The CLARA project uniquely combines high speed rail and brand new urban centres in a fresh look at providing affordable, connected and liveable cities.

“We are excited to be part of the CLARA team and look forward to developing plans for the prosperous future of Australia” Cardno’s Martin Wells said.

According to demographics analyst Mark McCrindle, Australia’s population growth can’t realistically be stopped but it does need to be better planned and managed.

“We have added 390,000 people to our population in the last 12 months, which is like adding three cities the size of Darwin to our population each year,” he said.

“Australia needs 21st century nation building projects like high speed rail and the associated development of new cities if we are to both respond to the population growth we are experiencing and at the same time enhance the economy and the world-beating lifestyle that we enjoy.”

CLARA said they remained agnostic regarding the technology that will be selected for the faster rail component of the CLARA Plan. Their research showed that there were at least four viable, currently available technologies that would enable CLARA to achieve its faster rail projections.

These include new technologies such as magnetic levitation and traditional steel on wheel systems.

“Australia has a choice,” Cleary said.

“We can either do nothing and continue the overcrowded mega city model, leading to a more fractured society, where people see little of their families and do not even know their neighbours, where housing prices of ‘The Australian dream’ are out of reach of the average Australian, leading to a further disintegration of the social fabric.

[Related reading: Apartments Set to Become New Dream as House Prices Surge]

“Or we can take a deep breath, hit the ‘pause button’ on our largest cities and provide a masterplan that not only provides a smart choice for the region, the state, and the nation, but also to develop communities that reflect the best of Australian capability, and our aspirations in the 21st century.”

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