- Local Federal Member outlines wishlist for Federal Budget
- HomeBuilder’s runaway success on the Coast requires new infrastructure to meeting growing population
A heavy rail line linking the coastal communities from Baringa to Maroochydore with Brisbane is top of Federal Member for Fisher Andrew Wallace’s priority list for next week’s Federal Budget as the region copes with the success of the Morrison Government’s HomeBuilder program. The new rail would complement the Federal Government’s existing $3.4 billion investment in the duplication of the North Coast line and upgrades to the Bruce Highway to support jobs and population growth on the Sunshine Coast.
Mr Wallace said that the Federal Government’s HomeBuilder program had succeeded spectacularly in supporting construction jobs on the Sunshine Coast, but that our community continues to need additional infrastructure to keep pace with the region’s rapid growth.
“When I helped Minister Sukkar to put together the HomeBuilder program I was optimistic that it could restore the work which our local construction sector had lost during the COVID crisis. However, with land releases selling out in days and new homes on the Sunshine Coast being bought sight unseen by families moving here from Victoria and New South Wales, this program has far exceeded anyone’s expectations. The rapid growth of our community will be a welcome boost for local businesses at a difficult time, but we now need to make sure that we have the jobs and the infrastructure necessary to accommodate these new residents.” he said.
“The $3.4 billion the Liberal National Government is already investing in the North Coast Rail and Bruce Highway in our region is a fantastic start. However, in next week’s Federal Budget I am hoping to see funding for projects which are going to create even more jobs and help Sunshine Coast locals to move around our region and beyond to get to them. I believe the first priority should be the construction of a heavy rail link along the CAMCOS corridor to bring rail transport to our most heavily populated areas.” he said.
The CAMCOS corridor is an area of protected land running from Baringa and Caloundra in the South, through heavily populated coastal suburbs including Birtinya, Kawana, and Mooloolaba to Maroochydore in the North. It has been reserved for almost twenty years for the construction of a heavy rail link to Brisbane.
“Duplication upgrades to the North Coast Rail line are already underway with the Federal Government’s support, but I have no intention of stopping there. The population of our region is already heavily concentrated on the Coast, and developments like Aura and Harmony are growing fast. Times have changed and we need to bring heavy rail to our coastal communities too. Heavy rail to the Coast would create hundreds of jobs, reduce congestion on the Bruce Highway, improve safety for thousands of commuters and help bring more vital tourist dollars to our region. This project is not shovel ready yet, but as our community emerges from COVID-19 I think it is going to be a no brainer. The CAMCOS corridor has been set aside for this project for over 20 years. The time for this project has come and i will continue to fight to make it a reality.
Mr Wallace gathered extensive feedback during his recent Tour de Fisher, as well as in dozens of stakeholder meetings during 2020, to understand which projects Sunshine Coast residents believe will make the most difference to our changing region’s recovery from the economic consequences of COVID-19.
“To accommodate the impact of HomeBuilder, we are also going to need new leisure and entertainment facilities appropriate to one of Australia’s fastest growing regions. That means an upgrade to Sunshine Coast Stadium. This year, with Elton John’s concerts and the Melbourne Storm playing here we have all seen how much our community gets behind big events at the Stadium. I believe the time has come for us to make Sunshine Coast Stadium ready to host the biggest games and the biggest acts and I will be fighting for Federal Government funding to help make that a reality.”
Mr Wallace has met with Treasurer Josh Frydenberg over recent months to advocate strongly for a wide range of projects, large and small, for funding in this Federal Budget.
“We don’t always need billions to make a difference on the Sunshine Coast. I am also hoping to see funding in this Budget for smaller projects which will make a big difference to local communities and support tradies’ jobs without breaking the bank. I want to see funding for the upgrade to Metropolitan-Caloundra Surf Life Saving Club’s facilities to help them keep the beach safe for all of our new local residents. I want to see funding for a food bank for the homeless at Gateway Care, and the revitalisation of the Mooloolaba Foreshore to bring new tourists to our region. I will also be fighting for projects which can help keep our growing population active and healthy, like new sports fields in Montville, a Coastal pathway for Bokarina and Warana, or new lighting for Glass House Sports Club.” Mr Wallace said.
The Federal Budget will be handed down on Tuesday 6 October.