Friday, July 19, 2024

Sunshine Coast warms to $2.75 billion rail commitment

Sunshine Coast Council has welcomed a commitment by the Queensland Government to provide $2.75 billion towards the delivery of Stage 1 of its proposed Sunshine Coast Direct Rail project from Beerwah to Caloundra.

Acting Mayor, Rick Baberowski said Council also appreciated that, for the first time, the region had a clear commitment from the State Government regarding the project and better clarity on the likely cost, timing and destinations.

“What is important now is that the Commonwealth Government comes on board to match this commitment so Sunshine Coast residents have certainty that the first stage of this critical public transport link to one of the fastest growing regions in the nation can get underway,” Cr Baberowski said.

“While having this rail link delivered in time for the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games is important, what is more important is having in place an efficient, reliable and sustainable public transport network.

“We don’t have this now and securing the commitment of both State and Federal Governments to Direct Sunshine Coast Rail will provide enormous benefits for our community, our environment and the economic productivity of the Sunshine Coast.” 

Cr Baberowski said that the Sunshine Coast had the second highest rate of private vehicle trips per day of any regional area in the country.

“So, getting people out of cars and on to public transport is vital to reduce traffic congestion, cut emissions and increase productivity and wellbeing by better connecting people with their workplaces, shops and services in a timely and efficient manner,” he said.

“What our Council and our communities will now be looking for is a clear matching commitment from the Commonwealth to the funding announced by the Miles Government for Stage 1 of Direct Sunshine Coast Rail.

“We also want to see agreed timeframes, designs, plans and a starting date for Stage 1 and for the State Government to continue to explore methods of procurement that maximise the speed of delivery to ensure completion of Stage 1 by 2032.

“What also remains critical is that all levels of Government keep focused on ultimately delivering public transport connectivity from Caloundra through to Maroochydore – our region’s capital and major commercial centre – so that the bulk of our community can easily access a reliable and efficient public transport system to get them to where they need to go.”

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