Ted O’ Brien – Member for Fairfax
We did it!
The Federal Government announced $1.6 billion for a heavy passenger rail line along the CAMCOS corridor between Beerwah and Maroochydore.
This was the single biggest transport infrastructure investment announcement in this week’s Federal Budget, and it represents the most transformative project our region will see in a generation.
The project will deliver a new 37 km passenger rail line, starting from the existing Beerwah station and passing through new stations at Caloundra and Kawana before landing at a new station in the Maroochydore CBD. It will support over 9,500 jobs in the construction phase.
While this rail line will be an extension of the existing rail system, it should be designed to accommodate for Fast Rail in the future by making the track straight and wide.
This project is about more than connectivity. It’ll help alleviate pressure from population growth with density created around new stations, get people out of cars and onto public transport, and activate Australia’s newest greenfield CBD.
It’s also about leveraging the 2032 Olympic & Paralympic Games to accelerate the delivery of critical infrastructure.
As a region, we need this new rail line to accommodate a growing population and to improve connectivity and mobility. But, we also need this rail line in place before the world visits us in 2032.
The project assumes a 50/50 funding split between the Federal and State Governments. This is consistent with normal principles and it also aligns with the 50/50 partnership agreed between the Australian and Queensland Governments as part of our bid to secure the 2032 Games.
It follows, therefore, that once the Queensland Government makes its $1.6 billion contribution, the total project value will be $3.2 billion.
Once the Queensland Government confirms its contribution, a detailed design will be required with a view to the bulk of construction taking place in the second half of this decade, and well ahead of 2032.
As unity tickets go, this is as good as it gets.
While I’ve led the charge on this project for more than six years, this $1.6 billion commitment is not my win alone. It’s all about team work. My colleague Andrew Wallace MP has been there every inch of the way and so too have my State colleagues, many councillors and business and community leaders.
Mostly, though, I wish to thank around 6,000 Sunshine Coast locals who took the time to register their personal support on www.fastrail.com.au. It’s not too late for others to register too, by the way, because there’s still more to do.
This extraordinary development for rail along the coastal strip does not take away nor lessen the need for improvements on the existing North Coast Rail Line between Beerburrum and Nambour (B2N).
Works on Stage 1 of B2N have just begun, thanks to $390 million from the Federal Government that we announced a few years ago.
As for Stage 2 of B2N, I believe the design needs to change to allow for full duplication – that’s two tracks – all the way to Nambour Station. What’s more, it should be designed to accommodate for Fast Rail.
To this end, I secured $5 million in last year’s Federal Budget so a new Stage 2 could be designed. But, we are still waiting for the Queensland Government to commit its $5 million and this means the design can’t be done and the cost of construction remains unknown. We must continue to fight for this project too.
Lastly, please join with me in celebrating this $1.6 billion commitment to a new passenger rail line to Maroochydore. This win belongs to all of us.
Member for Fairfax