RENT-SEEKERS OF THE WORLD UNITE, YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE BUT TAXPAYERS’ MONEYCan Australia be made more like the United States, more than 150 years after the United States made itself more into the United States? Australia’s population lives overwhelmingly along the coasts, with much of its interior virtually empty (to be fair, much of that interior is a desert), whereas the States are dotted with significant urban centres throughout its interior – in large parts thanks to the railway revolution of the 19th century, which made it all possible.

A utopian vision of Australia adding new cities and a high-speed rail network is a step closer.

Private group CLARA wants to build three “cities” between Canberra and Sydney along the rail link with a combined cost of $75 billion.

The journey between the two capitals could take just 48 minutes and the trains would be travelling at speeds of up to 430km/h.

A further two cities are planned along a Melbourne and Greater Shepparton route costing around $51 billion — with a 35-minute rail link.

We could certainly do with more people living outside the big capital cities of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. But would more people want to live well outside them if the commute was lightning fast? Who knows. But one thing is certain: it would be pretty expensive. So where is the money coming from?

CLARA CEO Nick Cleary claims it won’t technically cost taxpayers a cent, as it would be paid for with “private based value capture model” — which would pull money from Asia. However, he admitted it would need “support” of government on all levels and couldn’t yet say where exactly the Asian investment would come from.

But of course.

TDC CEO Arthur Chrenkoff has got a great bridge to sell you – at no cost to taxpayer.