It has now been an incredible seven days since the Federal Government committed $1.6 billion in funding to deliver the Sunshine Coast Rail, on a 50:50 basis with the State Government.
To date, the State Government has refused to say anything constructive about this amazing project, whether it will support the project and match the Federal Government’s $1.6 billion.
“We all know that a week is a long time in politics, but this delay is ridiculous,” Mr Wallace said.
In a Sunshine Coast Daily vox pop on the plan, however, the Federal Labor Candidate for Fisher has indicated her support for the project by putting a yes in the box.
Mr Wallace, who named the project his “number one priority” since being elected to office almost six years ago, said that it was time for the State Government to stop playing political games and to get on with the project.
“We announced this funding a week ago. And all we’ve heard from the State Government is petty political jabs. No commitment. No contribution. Just radio silence on the answer locals want.
“I saw that the Federal Labor Candidate for Fisher told the Sunshine Coast Daily that she supports the project.
“If she backs the project, why hasn’t she called on Jason Hunt and the Member for Nicklin to unmute themselves, and back the project?
“The people of the Sunshine Coast expect someone who will fight for them. They deserve someone who will bring Ministers to project sites and make the case at every chance. Someone who says ‘yes’ to the infrastructure we need, and who won’t take ‘no’ for an answer.
“That’s what I did for The Wishlist Centre. That’s what I did for the Bruce Highway. That’s what I did for the North Coast Rail Duplication.
“What have we heard from Labor? Nothing.”
Mr Michael Shadforth, President of the Caloundra Chamber of Commerce, said that the delay was unfortunate given the pressing need to start the project to accommodate the rapid growth rate of the region.
“The conversation about heavy rail has been on the table for years. Everybody understands that the growth of southeast Queensland requires an effective public transport link between the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane City.
“They also understand that this is good for local businesses, by connecting the right kind of talent with employers, and visitors with our unique tourism offerings.
“When the Federal Government offers this kind of money, it should be jumped on as soon as possible. We don’t have time to waste if we want to take advantage of the opportunities that lay ahead of us.”
The project to build heavy rail along the CAMCOS corridor. This project is essential to the transport mix of the Sunshine Coast, and will increase connectivity between key growth hubs in the hinterland and the coastal strip, with stations expected at Kawana, Caloundra and Maroochydore linking the Sunshine Coast to Brisbane City through Beerwah station.
The project will cut travel time, reduce road congestion, and make mass transit accessible to Sunshine Coast residents.
It will open new employment opportunities and labour mobility for a generation of skilled workers and local employers. As many as 9550 direct and indirect jobs are set to be created during construction.
We have a 2032 deadline to plan and build the rail line in time for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“We need to get cracking on this project, because it will not be built overnight,” Mr Wallace said. “Time is running out for the State Government to join me and get this incredible project underway. How long do we have to wait?”
For more information about the rail project, visit: www.sunshinecoastrail.com.au
For more information about the project funding announcement visit: https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/fletcher/media-release/heavy-passenger-rail-track-sunshine-coast