Inland Rail is funded differently from roads, a cancellation of Inland would not mean any new dollars for roads from that source. I dont even know why this is a topic - it was not long ago the announcement was made - by the feds- to speed up construction.
Is there anything other than speculation to back up an idea of cancellation?
You are correct, it is all speculation. However you cannot ignore how our political elite operate with funding. They can giveth and they can taketh away when it suits them. Just look at the Homeland Minister's whim to "reallocate" funding for CCTV systems. Irrespective if it was allowed to happen or not, it did happen.
We have numerous infrastructure projects espoused by all level of governments and political persuations. When the pollies get involved they will spin the max that it will deliver and then in reality only provide initial funding until the next toy comes along. They struggle to maintain big vision, multi term projects. They love 3 year projects as the ribbon cutting occurs within their term. Never stand in the way between a pollie and a chance to open a curtain, hop in an excavator, turn over one shovel full of dirt or cut a ribbon.
Once the real works starts, delays occur, cost blow outs occur (might be simply a contracting business folds) and the political focus has moved away in the 24 hours news cycle. Then the reality kicks in, these become another project that is subject to cost cutting, deferrement or cancellation.
No guarantee that this will be finished, nor completed within our lifetimes. It should happen, but if it does, it will face all of these pressures. Possibly the final project doesn't match the original vision.
As others said, the amount of actual new track that has been constructed has been minimal. Wait till they have do the real construction through hostile electorates. Isn't there an election late this year or early next year? You watch, there will be a slow down for those areas and the focus will continue on rehabilitation of existing track. Can't spook the horses.