Written by Hayden Johnson, from the Courier Mail
Wednesday, 24 November, 2021
Heavy rail could be expanded to the Sunshine Coast for the 2032 Olympic Games, with the State and Federal governments agreeing to compromise in the delivery of the major infrastructure project.
The Queensland Government will formally raise the expansion of rail services from Beerwah into the Sunshine Coast next year, with the proposal described by Transport Minister Mark Bailey as “absolutely viable”.
It was first raised by Queensland LNP backbencher Ted O’Brien as a compromise in the state and Commonwealth squabble over the benefits of fast rail.
It was hoped a fast-rail service between Brisbane, the Gold and Sunshine Coasts would delivered for the Games – however it is not supported by the state government.
Mr Bailey said the Queensland Government would consider building heavy rail into the Maroochydore CBD, which would be one of the largest legacy projects of the Games.
He said heavy rail was possible into the Sunshine Coast and pledged to raise it in formal discussions with the Commonwealth once governance arrangements between the state and Commonwealth for the Olympic Games are finalised.
“We’re also committed to the CAMCOS (Caboolture to Maroochydore) heavy rail concept and have continued to preserve the corridor for a future rail link to Maroochydore,” he said.
“All transport infrastructure issues will be investigated by federal and state governments from 2022 as Mr O’Brien is well aware.
“The Games is a once in a lifetime transport infrastructure opportunity for the Sunshine Coast and there is no doubt the city will benefit greatly from future investments in preparation for it.”
Mr O’Brien, Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s special envoy on the Olympic Games, welcomed the spirit of co-operation.
“We might be of different political colours but I’m happy to take him at his word that he believes heavy rail along the CAMCOS corridor into the Maroochydore CBD is viable and should be considered,” Mr O’Brien said.
“There’s still a long way to go on this but we need to build on these initial signs of bipartisanship in order for us to build major infrastructure as a legacy for the 2032 Games.
“There is no time to waste.”
The Queensland federal MP, whose outburst about the make-up of the 2032 Olympic Games organising committee forced the state government to make changes, said the rail line must be built to facilitate fast rail after the Games.