The Treasurer and Minister for Transport have confirmed that tomorrow’s State Budget will not have any new money allocated for the Beerwah to Maroochydore rail extension, effectively throwing back an opportunity of $1.6B in Federal Money.
Member for Maroochydore Fiona Simpson said the $4.8M funds for rail planning had previously been announced and ran the danger of deliberately dragging out a decision and losing an opportunity to use the Federal Funds already committed.
“It’s time to back rather than block rail to Maroochydore,” Ms Simpson said.
“A lot of the work was already covered for the rail extension in the Fast Rail business case.”
Ms Simpson said the Federal Funding was an opportunity the State shouldn’t waste due to petty politics.
“The State Government needs to be a Government for all Queensland and stop ignoring the need to connect the Sunshine Coast to the rest of Southeast Queensland and get the project started.
“The loss of this Federal Money would be a lost opportunity to transform transport on the Sunshine Coast.
“The Federal commitment of $1.6B is there and was based on the State Government matching it.
“The State Government need to confirm that the Federal Government money will still be there if they don’t match it, as was proposed.
Ms Simpson said that with the speed at which the Sunshine Coast is growing, it is imperative that we have the right infrastructure to support the growth and part of this is fast rail to Maroochydore.
There Transport Minister has a pattern of funding small studies, but not put the hard dollars on the table to move projects forward. This project needs to be mapped out within the transport plan and a timeline to get the project started.
“It’s time to back rail to Maroochydore and not block rail.”