‘Hard decisions’ imminent: Labor
FEARS for the future of the Beerwah to Maroochydore rail line are growing after federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers said that ‘difficult decisions’ would have to be made about the future of nationwide infrastructure projects.
Dr Chalmers made the comments after the International Monetary Fund said that Australia’s inflation was remaining persistently high and a more measured rollout of big ticket projects should be considered.
The Labor Government had already committed to reassessing dozens of projects with Infrastructure Minister Catherine King currently meeting with state leaders to ensure “value for money”, Dr Chalmers said.
About $33 billion of spending is on the line.
While Labor had committed to funding $1.6 billion for its part of the rail project, which would connect the fast growing Coast directly to Brisbane, the state government refused to back the plan, instead awaiting the results of a near two-year review of the project.
Federal Member for Fisher, Andrew Wallace, said Dr Chalmers had backed the project in 2022.
“We’ve made it clear from the beginning that if there are investments that are slated for communities like (the Sunshine Coast) … which will deliver an economic benefit for the country and for the community … then they would go ahead,” the Treasurer said.
Mr Fisher said the rail project ticked all the boxes for not only the Sunshine Coast, but beyond.
“Sunshine Coast Rail to Maroochydore is more than good, it’s essential and it’s time to stop Labor’s delays and smokescreens and just get on with the job,” he said.
“This is about delivering on one of the highest priorities for one of the country’s fastest growing regions. This job could have already started when the former Federal Coalition Government offered the State $1.6 Billion for the project in early 2022. But because of the State Government’s delays, this project is now at grave risk because of Prime Minister Albanese.”