$12 billion for coast rail line

By Mitch Gaynor

THE total cost of construction for the Beerwah to Maroochydore rail line would cost $12 billion and take at least 10 years if it was not divided into stages.
The State Government last week released a summary of its $14 million 12-month study into the total construction cost of what is now called the Sunshine Coast Direct Rail Line.
Citing construction ‘complexities’, including requirements for six bridges and a 1.2km tunnel, the government has proposed a staged roll out of the project, beginning with a 19km stretch from Beerwah to Caloundra.
Stage 1 has been estimated at between $5.5bn and $7bn and is contingent on the federal government agreeing to fund an extra $1.1bn on top of the $1.6bn it has already committed to the project.
The State Government has committed $2.5 billion.
Stage 1 is able to be completed before the commencement of the 2032 Games, but would not extend to the proposed athletes’ village or Games venues.
“Stage One alone involves building 19km of track. 7km of that track is elevated rail on viaducts, including 10 bridges, crossing roads, creeks and the Bruce Highway,” Transport Minister Bart Mellish said.
“Stage two is even more complex, involving construction of another 7.5km of track between Caloundra and Birtinya, including a 1.2km tunnel at Little Mountain.”
Member for Fisher, Andrew Wallace, demanded the State Government releases the full business case.
“The financials were done, and the former Federal Coalition Government contributed 50 per cent of the funding, along with a 10 per cent contingency,” he said.
“Now they’re knocking on the door of Federal Labor asking for another $1.1bn just to build the line to Caloundra, not even halfway. So, State Labor wants to give us a third of the rail for twice the price.”