Mayor responds to MP’s Light Rail statement

15 June, 2021
Author: Charles Hodgson

The Federal Government – of which Mr Wallace is a member – has already funded and overseen the development of a business case for fast rail on the CAMCOS Corridor.  That business case (which the Federal Government has never publicly released) was not supported by the Federal Government’s own assessment body, Infrastructure Australia.  As a result, the Federal Government has not committed funding to that transport solution in its most recent budget just one month ago, nor in any prior budget. 

So the question really needs to be asked of Mr Wallace – what is he doing to secure the necessary funding from the Government he represents to deliver a faster rail solution on the CAMCOS Corridor? – Because all indications to date are that the Federal Government is not committed to funding that project. 

It should also be noted the Federal Government has had no hesitation in funding mass transit solutions elsewhere, so shouldn’t Mr Wallace be advocating to his colleagues to provide funding support for the mass transit solution that is assessed as most suitable for the Sunshine Coast?  After all, that is what the Options Analysis and the subsequent detailed business case are seeking to determine.

Sunshine Coast Council has never opposed the need for a rail connection from the North Coast rail line at Beerwah to Maroochydore.  In fact, the Mass Transit Options Analysis is about an integrated public transport solution for the Sunshine Coast, which includes rail on the CAMCOS corridor.  Mass Transit (in whatever form it takes and there is no predetermined solution) and a rail solution on the CAMCOS Corridor have a different, but complementary, purpose. 

The CAMCOS rail solution would connect the Sunshine Coast to Brisbane, with a limited number of stations between Maroochydore and Beerwah. 

This needs to be complemented by a local Mass Transit solution (in whatever form it takes) providing a suburb to suburb connection for residents living in the most heavily populated coastal area of the Sunshine Coast and connecting to the rail solution on the CAMCOS Corridor.  This will help take cars off the road, alleviate worsening congestion as the region continues to grow and help to preserve our lifestyle.

Without a Mass Transit solution, there will likely be greater congestion on our roads with residents in these suburbs either driving to the limited number of rail stations on the CAMCOS Corridor, or having to continue using their cars because the rail does not stop where they are seeking to go.

Council is – and always has been – of the view that both a rail solution on the CAMCOS Corridor and a local Mass Transit solution are needed if our Sunshine Coast community is to have the truly integrated and efficient public transport network which it needs. 

It is Mr Wallace and others that are selling the Sunshine Coast short by claiming the region can only have one of these solutions and that it needs to be faster rail on CAMCOS – a solution which the government he represents has consistently failed to fund.