Sunshine Coast MP Andrew Wallace has called on State Labor to get on with the job after the welcomed news this morning that Federal Labor has backed the Coalition’s $1.6 billion commitment to Sunshine Coast Rail.
The funding arrangement for the state-controlled project is based on a 50/50 split between the Federal and State Governments.
The $3.2 billion project will build heavy passenger rail on the Sunshine Coast, connecting the existing line at Beerwah to new stations in Caloundra, Kawana, and Maroochydore.
The Federal Member for Fisher, who has campaigned tirelessly alongside Fairfax MP Ted O’Brien and the local community for six years, said the fight is not over yet.
“We need to put continuous pressure to hold State Labor to account,” Mr Wallace said. “They have done nothing but play politics, make up excuses, stall, and delay since the previous Coalition Government’s announcement in March.
“Until the first train pulls into Maroochydore, I call on the Sunshine Coast community to make their voices heard and tell State Labor to get on board.
“Labor State Members in Caloundra and Nicklin refuse to make the case to their Labor colleagues – choosing to be the voice for George Street on the Sunshine Coast instead of the voice for the Sunshine Coast in George Street.”
The project will cut travel time, reduce road congestion, and make mass transit accessible to Sunshine Coast residents, with reduced travel times between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast and within.
“With less than 10 years to run before the Olympics and the Paralympics, where the Sunshine Coast will host a number of events, it is imperative that we get that train line built well before the torch is lit,” Mr Wallace said.
“But regardless of a major sporting event, Sunshine Coast Rail will revolutionise the way we move people in southeast Queensland – busting congestion on our busiest roads and reducing the use of cars and thereby carbon emissions.
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.
Mr Wallace also re-committed his fight against light rail and the mass transit plan that has not been ruled out by Local or State Government.
“Infrastructure Minister Catherine King told ABC Sunshine Coast ‘we’re committed to the Maroochydore Light Rail’ – we hope that was just a slip of the tongue,” Mr Wallace said.
“The light rail proposed by the Sunshine Coast Council, will remove a lane either side of Nicklin Way while allowing for a wall of high-density residential development along this same coastal strip. This will worsen congestion and impact on the character and liveability of our community.
“The costly mass transit project also does nothing for the Hinterland community, who have been crying out for better public transport services for many years.
“Light rail is simply not appropriate for our community, and I will continue my fight against the proposal.”
Sunshine Coast residents can sign the petition for heavy passenger rail from Beerwah to Maroochydore by visiting www.sunshinecoastrail.com.au