DELIVERING MUCH NEEDED INFRASTRUCTURE
From when I was elected in 2016 my number one priority for Fisher has been to deliver the infrastructure upgrades that our community so badly needs. Fixing the Bruce Highway and our local rail line, and busting congestion on State Government roads like Caloundra Road or Nicklin Way will mean less time in the car and more time with the family for thousands of Sunshine Coast Residents.
Since I was elected the Liberal National Government has delivered more than $3.5 billion in Federal funding for these much needed upgrades, including among other projects:
- $3.2 billion to upgrade congested intersections and build an additional lane each way on the Bruce Highway between the Coast and Brisbane
- $390 million to duplicate the North Coast Rail line
- Funding for a business case for Faster Rail on the Sunshine Coast
- A new four lane bridge on Brisbane Road in Mooloolaba
- A comprehensive network planning study to bust congestion around Caloundra and Kawana
You can find out more about each of these investments below.
Following concerted advocacy by me and my Federal colleagues, the Liberal National Coalition Government has invested $3.2 billion since the 2016 election in the delivery of much needed upgrades to the Bruce Highway.
This has included $650 million toward transformational works already underway between Caloundra Road and the Sunshine Motorway. This project involves the construction of Australia’s first Diverging Diamond Interchange as well as new on and off ramps which will reduce the number of vehicle conflict points and the potential for crashes. When complete, the upgrade will also widen the highway to six lanes between Caloundra Road and Sunshine Motorway.
The Coalition Government’s investment has also included $880 million committed in the 2018 Federal Budget to construct an additional lane each way between Caloundra and Pine Rivers and a further $150 million for the upgrade of the interchange at Murrumba Downs.
In the 2017 Federal Budget, the Coalition Government further committed $650 million to upgrades between Caloundra and Brisbane. This is in addition to the $800 million the Government has allocated to the Cooroy to Curra Section D project, and a further $91.4 million secured for the upgrade of the Maroochydore Road Interchange in the 2019 Federal Budget.
Construction work on the Caloundra Road to Sunshine Motorway section is currently at the half way stage, while Phase 2, which includes an additional lane between Caboolture and Steve Irwin Way as well as upgrades to the Deception Bay interchange is expected to begin construction in 2020. It will be completed by the end of 2022.
NORTH COAST RAIL DUPLICATION
Unlike the Bruce Highway, the North Coast rail line is entirely a State Government responsibility. Nonetheless, aware of the importance of this project to local residents my Sunshine Coast LNP colleagues and I fought hard in Canberra to secure Commonwealth Government funding for the much-needed duplication of the North Coast Rail.
The Liberal National Federal Government allocated $390 million in the 2018 Federal Budget to duplicate the Sunshine Coast’s North Coast Rail Line between Beerburrum and Landsborough, and build capacity upgrades from Landsborough to Nambour, delivering improved passenger and freight movement between the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane.
This upgrade, which will duplicate around 20 kilometres and upgrade a further 19 kilometres of track along the busy commuter corridor, will increase the frequency and reliability of services between the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane.
Through this major investment, we are addressing conflict between passenger and freight trains on the current single-track line, which is constraining the growth of both types of traffic. This will also be a significant economic boost to the region, creating more than 600 jobs and driving even more investment into the local economy.
Preliminary work on this project is already underway.
In March 2018 the Deputy Prime Minister visited the Sunshine Coast to announce that the ‘North Coast Connect’ fast rail project was one of only three in the country to receive millions of dollars in Federal Funding to put together a business case. This project would involve straightening of the existing rail line between Nambour and Brisbane, as well as an extra line from Beerwah up the Coast through Caloundra to Maroochydore. Eventually this project would offer travel times as low as 45 minutes from Nambour or Maroochydore to Brisbane. There is a long way to go, but this announcement is a big step forward toward getting funding from the $10B National Rail Program and getting the rail transport we deserve on the Coast. We are anticipating that this business case will be delivered in mid-2019 and if the project stacks up I will be fighting for Federal Government funding to support its construction.
I have been actively involved with Stockland and their partners in the North Coast Connect proposal from an early stage. My Sunshine Coast LNP colleagues and I worked closely with the consortium in submitting their formal proposal to the Commonwealth Government, and we advocated strongly on its behalf with the relevant Federal Ministers. We have also conducted local campaigns on the issue, informing local residents about the potential project, and gathering signatures for a petition.
BRISBANE RD BRIDGE, MOOLOOLABA
The Federal Government invested $12 million in the 2019 Federal Budget funding to pay for the construction of a new four lane bridge over the Mayes Canal on Brisbane Road in Mooloolaba. This investment, delivered from the Coalition Government’s $4 billion Urban Congestion Fund, will transform the experience of locals and tourists alike.
The alignment of the existing bridge will not allow for four lanes and will be replaced with a new construction. The new bridge will also allow for the incorporation of light rail in the future as necessary. Four lanes along the length of Brisbane Road, including over the Mayes Canal, will ensure that traffic flows freely, and will make it far easier for people to visit our local cafes, shops and restaurants. It will be a huge boost for local business. With the Federal Government’s investment providing 100% of the necessary funds, construction of the bridge will commence in 2021 following the Sunshine Coast Council’s widening of Brisbane Road. Construction will be completed in 2022.
CALOUNDRA ROAD NETWORK PLANNING STUDY
The congested roads around Caloundra and Kawana are a State Government responsibility, but for too long they have been ignored by the Queensland Labor Government. The situation is only going to get worse, and last year I decided that enough is enough. I advocated strongly in Canberra for help from the Federal Government to make a difference to this growing problem for Sunshine Coast locals, despite the State Government’s inaction.
The Federal Government committed $5 million in the 2019 Budget toward a comprehensive business case and design work for congestion-busting improvements to the road network around Caloundra and Kawana.
The comprehensive study will consider options to improve access to Caloundra and Kawana overall, including Caloundra’s central business district, to support economic development, improve road safety and reduce travel times. It will feature conceptual development and detailed design work for road layouts for key transport links in the Southern and Central Sunshine Coast. These are likely to include the Caloundra Road/Nicklin Way/East West Link to Bells Creek Arterial, and the Kawana Arterial link between Kawana Forest and Sunshine Coast Motorway.
I am grateful to the Deputy Prime Minister for listening and for coming through with this funding. It is now up to Minister Bailey and the Queensland State Labor Government to step up and provide the remaining $5 million so that we can get stop all the talking and finally start moving forward toward a Caloundra and Kawana road network that works for everyone.