Welcome to CS Damo!
Im not the best person to comment on the relative quality of different machines in the top end. If youre able to get a LM then Im sure youd be very happy with its results; but there are a number of cafes that can produce very very good coffee with regular HX machines given good techique, even if its not to quite the standard a LM or Synesso could produce.
I guess a lot depends if youre trying to produce the pinnacle of espresso excellence or are targeting a more general audience. If youre after the best of the best results and you have the staff trained to run the machine properly, then bite the bullet as theyll hit the limits of the cheaper ones; but if youre not targeting the ristretto purists then there are plenty of machines in your price range that will do a good job. If you know what youre looking for, 2 and 3 groups regularly come up on eBay for around the $1000-$2000 mark, mainly just because theyre so hard to get rid of so you can get yourself a good bargain with those and flog it off without losing much if you find you want to upgrade once youve got some cash behind you down the track.
Of course without adequate training youll likely not notice the difference between them so this is definitely a must. One of our site sponsors, CosmoreX, is located in Canberra; check out http://www.cosmorexcoffee.com.au/training.htm. Attilio is one of my customers and hes a great bloke and Im sure would be happy to help out or refer you to someone who can. Alternatively we have other sponsors who conduct training, Talk Coffee in Melbourne for example, but youd have to cover their travel and accommodation expenses so Id start with CosmoreX. Hed also be able to give you some machine tips.