Opposition commits to Coast heavy rail funding

The State Opposition has promised to fund Queensland’s share of the Beerwah to Maroochydore rail line if elected.

The announcement came after the State Government failed to allocate budget funding towards the multibillion-dollar project, outside of $4.8m for a planning study.

Federal member, Andrew Wallace, criticised the lack of funding saying that promises to advance hinterland heavy rail projects were “smoke and mirrors from a stale Labor Government”.

Shadow state development minister Jarrod Bleijie said: “The Palaszczuk Government did not allocate a single dollar in the State Budget to build this major infrastructure project for the Sunshine Coast.”

“A Crisafulli State Government will match this funding. The only thing standing in the way of this critical rail line on the Sunshine Coast is the Palaszczuk 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.

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.