Heavy rail hinterland splurge

By Mitch Gaynor

A multibillion-dollar commitment to upgrade rail networks including the Beerburrum to Nambour line headlines a cash splurge on mass transport investments in the 2022 State Budget.

But local federal member, Andrew Wallace, says there is no new money in the hinterland announcements, with the promises merely “smoke and mirrors from a stale Labor Government”.

State Treasurer Cameron Dick said the government was committing $489m for stage 1 of the Beerburrum to Nambour (B2N) rail upgrade.

It was also announced that it would be spending $4.8m towards a $6m commitment towards the Beerwah to Maroochydore rail extension planning.

The spending announcement, ahead of the State Budget, was part of a $3.5bn pipeline of new rail projects across the state.

“This investment is headlined by projects like the Beerburrum to Nambour and Kuraby to Beenleigh track duplications, Gold Coast Light Rail stage three, station upgrades across all of Queensland, plus the manufacturing of 65 brand new trains in Maryborough,” Treasurer Cameron Dick said.

But Mr Wallace said there was nothing new in the announcements for the Sunshine Coast electorate.

“It has been 12 weeks since the previous Liberal National Government announced $1.6 billion to deliver the Sunshine Coast Rail project,” he said.

“Three months on, and all we have are rehashed announcements, smoke and mirrors  from a stale Labor Government.” Mr Wallace added: “The $550.8 million Beerburrum to Nambour Rail Duplication Project, for which I secured $390 million is not a new announcement. It’s been announced time and again.”

He added that the $4.8m for a planning study towards Sunshine Coast Rail was “measly” and “announced last year”. “We have had 20 years of studies from Labor and no action. It’s time for Labor to get on board,” he said.

The B2N project – of which funding is split 70-30 between federal and state budgets -would see a duplication of the line between Beerburrum and Landsborough stations, as well as station upgrades, new park ‘n’ ride facilities and new rail passing loops between Landsborough and Nambour.