Queensland Labor continues to fail on rail for the sunshine coast

Local News
Paul Fletcher Ted O'Brien

The Morrison Government continues to call on the Queensland Labor Government to come to the table and provide their matched support for a new Brisbane to Sunshine Coast rail line – a critical new transport link that will support the region and a successful 2032 Olympic Games.

With a $1.6 billion commitment made in the 2022-23 Federal Budget, the Morrison Government stands ready to deliver a new Sunshine Coast rail line to support the needs of a growing region and in time for the Olympics in 2032.

Instead of backing the people of Queensland by throwing his support behind this important project, Queensland Labor Minister for Transport and Main Roads, Mark Bailey, has continued to criticise the Commonwealth’s $1.6 billion Sunshine Coast rail commitment saying the project costings in the Federal Budget had been “plucked out of thin air”.

In fact, the Commonwealth’s funding commitment was based on a cost estimate in the North Coast Connect detailed business case, with details from the business case released today, which show that the estimated total cost of the proposed new 37 kilometre line between Beerwah and Maroochydore is $2.913 billion.

Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, Hon Paul Fletcher, joined Sunshine Coast MP’s Ted O’Brien and Andrew Wallace on the proposed site of the Maroochydore CBD train station to call on Labor to back the long-awaited rail project. 

“Taking a conservative approach, we have scaled up the cost estimate in that business case to arrive at a total estimated project cost of $3.2 billion – and struck our commitment as 50 per cent of that in line with the usual cost sharing principles,” Minister Fletcher said.  

“In other words, the costing work is every bit as robust as that underpinning our contribution to the Gold Coast Faster Rail project that we are committed to along with the QLD Labor Government.

“Based on this, we have provided $1.6 billion for this project in the Budget – the single largest commitment towards a transport infrastructure project in the Budget – to be matched on a 50:50 basis with the State Government.

“For this rail line to support the growth of the Sunshine Coast and to be delivered in time for the Olympics, the Queensland Government needs to come to the table and commit to this project.”

Federal Member for Fairfax, Ted O’Brien said that the newly released data reveals that Minister Bailey wilfully misrepresented the business case for political purposes.

“Minister Bailey has lied to the people of the Sunshine Coast,” said Mr O’Brien.

“He’s trying to sabotage the project to provide cover for self-proclaimed rail devotee Anthony Albanese who can’t make up his mind on supporting the project,” Mr O’Brien said.

“We can’t waste time on political games if we’re to deliver in time for the games that count – the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

Federal Member for Fisher, Andrew Wallace, said that the newly released data puts to bed the State Government’s excuse for their radio silence on the heavy rail, and exposes Queensland Labor’s grubby and petty politics.

“Over two weeks ago, we stood near the site of the future Maroochydore Station to announce an incredible $1.6 billion for the Sunshine Coast rail,” Mr Wallace said.

“Two weeks on, and Sunshine Coast locals are still waiting for an answer from the State Government about whether they will match the Federal Government’s funding for the project.

“All we’ve had from state and federal Labor is cheap, political games and throwaway accusations. No commitment from Jason Hunt. No commitment from Mark Bailey. Not a word in defence of the project by the Federal Labor Candidates. Two weeks on and we still have no answer.

“The people of the Sunshine Coast are tired of being ignored by Labor, and they demand an answer. No more excuses.”

The Morrison Government continues to deliver for Queenslanders and this project is part of our plan to build a strong economy and a stronger future.

As part of our plan for a stronger future, the Coalition is continuing to invest in projects that create jobs and that will get Australians home sooner and safer.

The Coalition has committed $35.9 billion to transport infrastructure in Queensland since 2013 and our plan for infrastructure includes a record $120 billion ten-year infrastructure investment program across the country.

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