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Connecting the Coast: How the Direct Rail Line and Public Transport Project Will Transform the Region

Minister for Transport and Main Roads and Minister for Digital Services
The Honourable Mark Bailey

  • Palaszczuk and Albanese governments deliver combined $20 million in funding to plan the Direct Sunshine Coast Rail Line, a future connection between Beerwah and Maroochydore.
  • Major community consultation set to begin on four key transport projects for the Sunshine Coast
  • Key transport infrastructure planning needed on the runway to 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games
  • The Sunshine Coast is one of Queensland’s fastest growing regions with more than half a million people expected to call it home by 2041

As one of Queensland’s fastest growing regions, the Sunshine Coast is set to undergo a major transformation.

To cater for this growth, the Palaszczuk Government is investing a massive $3.147 billion in the region as part of the $89 billion Big Build.

This includes an additional $14 million commitment to the Direct Sunshine Coast Rail Line business case, affirming the State Government’s commitment to the game changing project.

The $14 million builds on an existing $6 million in joint funding, which will finalise the business case currently underway and commence necessary environmental investigations.

The Direct Sunshine Coast Rail Line project will work in tandem with the Sunshine Coast Public Transport project to make travelling by public transport to, from and within the Sunshine Coast region more convenient, affordable and reliable.

To support this Big Transport Build, the Palaszczuk Government is calling on local residents and commuters to have a say in the planning for four key transport projects:

  • The Direct Sunshine Coast Rail Line
  • Sunshine Motorway, Mooloolah River Interchange (MRI) Upgrade
  • Kawana Motorway planning
  • Sunshine Coast Public Transport project

The community engagement approach aims to ensure the local community understands the State Government’s overall plan and how these projects interconnect to provide big benefits to residents.

Quotes attributable to the Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey:

“The Sunshine Coast is one of the fastest growing regions in our state, which means we need to build the infrastructure that is needed now and leading up to the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“To get this right, we need to see a number of road, rail and transport projects working together to alleviate congestion and get Sunshine Coast locals home sooner.

“Transport and Main Roads is offering an opportunity for people to get involved, learn about the Big Transport Build and help make the future of the Sunshine Coast a good one.

“From the Bruce Highway to the mighty Bells Creek Arterial and along the existing Sunshine Coast Rail line, we have the high-vis army of roadworkers on the ground to deliver for Queenslanders living in the region – there’s only more to come.

“Now’s the time to get involved and help shape our bigger picture solution, so together we can continue making the coast a great place to live, work and visit, delivering better services for Queenslanders.”

Quotes attributable to the Member for Caloundra Jason Hunt

“These four key transport projects will help to deliver a world class transport system for the Sunshine Coast, making it easier for local and visitors to get to, from and around the region.

The Palaszczuk Government is a big supporter of Sunshine Coast Direct and we are getting on with finalising the business case by the end of this year.

“It’s important to see and understand how all of these projects will work together and I encourage everyone to have their say.”

Quotes attributable to the Member for Nicklin Rob Skelton:

“Those of us who live here already know the Sunshine Coast is the greatest place in the world.

“We want to keep it that way by making sure our roads and our transport system keeps pace with the growth we are expecting to see over the coming decades.

“It’s exciting to see how all of these key projects align and I urge locals to find out more.”

Quotes attributable to Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson:

“Sunshine Coast Council is pleased the program is progressing for consultation on four major transport projects for our region.

“What is important for our community is that there is a clear plan to address the road, rail and public transport needs of our region to enable our residents to move around more efficiently and effectively.

“An integrated approach – which is reflected in the linkages between these four projects – shows how they complement each other, can operate seamlessly and can enhance the convenience and connectivity of the most heavily populated urban areas of the Sunshine Coast

“Our Council continues to work with the Department of Transport and Main Roads to establish a high-quality public transport system that will reduce congestion, reduce our emissions, better respond to our adaption needs and provide significantly better connectivity between our communities and to the rest of south east Queensland.

“I strongly encourage all residents to take the opportunity to attend one of DTMR’s information sessions or use the online engagement tool to provide their views on these critical projects.”


Direct Sunshine Coast Rail Line

  • The Queensland Government has committed an additional $14 million towards this detailed business case and is working in partnership with the Australian Government.
  • Investigates a proposed 37km heavy rail extension between Beerwah and Maroochydore, to confirm station locations, alignment, staging, construction timeframes and cost.
  • Will include park ‘n’ rides and active transport provisions.
  • Builds upon planning completed in 2001 by the Caboolture to Maroochydore Corridor Study (CAMCOS).
  • Will connect economic centres of the Sunshine Coast, Moreton Bay and Brisbane and Sunshine Coast Public Transport project. Will deliver better regional connections between the Sunshine Coast, Moreton Bay and Brisbane regions.
  • More information:

Sunshine Motorway, Mooloolah River Interchange (MRI) Upgrade

  • The Australian Government and Queensland Government jointly committed $320 million on a 50:50 (federal:state) basis to deliver Stage 1.
  • Stage 1 will deliver a new road overpass from Nicklin Way to Brisbane Road and a new local road connection between Mountain Creek and Mooloolaba. These local road connections will separate local traffic from high-speed motorway traffic and reduce traffic weaving — a well-known issue at the interchange.
  • Future stages include a new river crossing to connect the Sunshine Motorway and Kawana Way, major upgrade of the interchange and duplication of the Sunshine Motorway between the interchange and the existing Kawana Way Interchange.
  • A design layout has been developed for the entire MRI Upgrade project. It considers community feedback received during project planning, as well as a range of technical, design and on-site investigations undertaken over the last 18 months.

Kawana Motorway

  • $2.6 million business case, funded by the Australian Government as part of the Southern Sunshine Coast Roads Improvement Study.
  • Would form part of a new north–south motorway link from the Bruce Highway to the existing Sunshine Motorway.
  • Provides an alternative route to the Bruce Highway for motorists travelling within the region, helping reduce traffic on Nicklin Way and Kawana Way through a direct connection to the Mooloolah River Interchange.
  • More information:

Sunshine Coast Public Transport

  • $15 million detailed business case, funded equally by the Australian Government, Queensland Government and Sunshine Coast Council (SCC).
  • Explores solutions for an enhanced public transport connection between Maroochydore and Birtinya, with a possible extension to Caloundra.
  • Builds on work previously undertaken by SCC through its Mass Transit Options Analysis endorsed in 2021.
  • Will help reduce the reliance on private vehicles and enable greater local, intra-regional travel, providing connections to other public transport services and the Direct Sunshine Coast Rail Line.
  • More information:

Originally posted on the QLD Government website.