Light Rail on the Sunshine Coast

On Sunday just gone, more than 4,500 residents in my electorate of Fisher and the broader Sunshine Coast gathered for a protest rally along the route of Sunshine Coast Council’s proposed Mass Transit Project. Led by dedicated local campaign groups the Mass Transit Action Group and Beach Matters, they held signs that said: ‘No light rail, tell the council now’ and ‘Don’t make us the Gold Coast.’ I couldn’t agree with those thousands of community-minded residents more. I want to thank Tracey Goodwin-McDonald and Rachael Bermingham for their roles in mounting this important protest and my own state LNP colleagues Fiona Simpson and Jarrod Bleijie. I was very disappointed not to be there myself. Unfortunately I was on a plane coming down to Canberra to represent the residents of Fisher, so I simply could not be there at that rally.

Unfortunately, Sunshine Coast Council yesterday voted to send the mass transit plan to state government. One of those versions, one of those options, was light rail. Light rail was the least preferred option from my community. And my community were pressing the Sunshine Coast Council to remove light rail from those five options to be sent to state government. But they didn’t do it. To give them some credit, Councillor Winston Johnston moved an amendment to state that light rail was the least preferred option of the Sunshine Coast community. And I thank him for doing that. But it remains a blight on Sunshine Coast Council that they did not, in the first instance, when they were doing their consultation, put to the community as one of the options the CAMCOS corridor heavy rail link from Beerwah to Maroochydore.

Every person I speak to on the Sunshine Coast wants to see a heavy rail spur line put in from Beerwah to Maroochydore, up the CAMCOS corridor—every person I speak to. But, for some unbelievably unknown reason, council did not put that as an option in their consultation paper. And people of the Sunshine Coast are very angry. In the consultation where council went out to the community, everybody I have spoken to that went to these community meetings said that council officers just pushed light rail onto them. Mayor Jamieson, the Sunshine Coast community is absolutely ropeable; they are fearful that you have going to push light rail onto the Sunshine Coast community and destroy our quality of life that we have, destroy what we have that thousands of people want to move to the Sunshine Coast to enjoy. You want to put a light rail system along Nicklin Way and Alexandra Parade. Mayor, you may have your sights set on other things—namely, the Olympics Committee—but, let me tell you, if you are still Mayor at the next council election, as many of your councillors will be, if you continue to push light rail on the community, and if you fail to listen to the will and the desires of your constituents, they will speak very, very strongly at the next council election. Councillors and the mayor, listen to what your community is saying. I’ll be the first person to say that we are not simply, as elected representatives, the mouthpiece of our electorate. Ultimately, sometimes we have to make decisions that our communities don’t want. But, on this particular issue, your community is screaming out to you: they do not want light rail. Please, listen to them. (Extension of time granted)

Light rail is an issue that the Sunshine Coast community has been grappling with for some time—

Photo of MPMs Chesters: Since I was a girl.

Photo of MPMr WALLACE: Since the member for Bendigo was a girl, which was not that long ago. For the CAMCOS corridor heavy rail option, which I am absolutely pushing for in this place amongst my colleagues, the federal government funded three feasibility studies for heavy rail. One went to Melbourne, one went to New South Wales and one came to Queensland. We were very fortunate to get that funding for a heavy rail, or fast rail, feasibility study. I am constantly hounding the Treasurer and the Prime Minister to give us funding for that project. Public transport is the sole responsibility of the state government, so the state government needs to work with us, particularly as we lead into the 2032 Olympic Games. Our time on the Sunshine Coast is now. In order for us to host many of these great events for the 2032 games, we need to have a much better public transport system. So I’m appealing to the Prime Minister and the Treasurer: we need to fund heavy rail in conjunction with the state. Mark Bailey, I’m asking you as well, as the state transport minister, to put your very long arms in your short pockets and give us some money for heavy rail on the Sunshine Coast.