The Sunshine Coast is on the cusp of a bright future – and all levels of government need to work together to deliver policies, services and infrastructure needed by the region if we are to reach our full potential, Mayor Mark Jamieson has told State Government election candidates.
Mayor Jamieson today briefed candidates on what the Sunshine Coast needed from the next Queensland Government.
He said there were five policy commitments which Council was seeking which would build certainty as well as community and investor confidence in the region, provide stability and enable the Sunshine Coast to maintain the lifestyle and environment highly valued by the community.
The policy commitments are: no more boundary changes; preservation of the regional inter-urban break; Beerwah East as the preferred identified growth area; a fair outcome on the Caloundra South infrastructure agreements; and approval of the Sunshine Coast Airport Environmental Impact Statement and support for Council’s proposed financing strategy.
“We also need a clear plan to address the infrastructure needs of this region, primarily in relation to road, rail and public transport infrastructure,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“These are the North Coast rail line duplication from Beerburrum to Nambour; Bruce Highway upgrade; Mooloolah River interchange; high quality bus corridor from Caloundra to Maroochydore; and a Sunshine Coast Entertainment, Convention and Exhibition Centre.
“Collectively these 10 commitments will enable the region – and Council – to get on with the job of building a strong future for our residents and future generations.
“We are a region that is continuing to grow at a rate higher than the state average so we need to ensure our infrastructure, services and facilities can cater for both the present and future resident population because, at the moment, it is not.
“And there should be no surprises about the infrastructure commitments we are seeking as they are consistent with what we put forward to the Government in response to its Strong Choices Investment Program.
“This is not about who to blame for the history of underinvestment in infrastructure by successive governments over many years or the tumult of change in the region since amalgamation in 2008 and subsequent de-amalgamation last year.
“It is, however, about shaping a stronger future for the Sunshine Coast.
“And Council cannot do this on its own.
“This Council has welcomed a turn-around in the last three years with a renewed focus on the Sunshine Coast.
“In that time we have seen commitments to the Sunshine Coast Public University Hospital and its delivery time frame, designation of the Maroochydore City Centre as a Priority Development Area, the hand-over of State-owned land at Sunshine Coast Airport, potential upgrades to the Mooloolah River interchange and earlier this week, the Premier’s commitment to duplication of the North Coast Rail Line from Beerburrum to Landsborough.
“But more needs to occur given the size of the region, its predicted growth, the need for a stronger economy and our significance as a tourism destination.
“Importantly, we need to see commitments with clear funding sources and real delivery time frames.
Mayor Jamieson said under-investment had been a reality for many years and, under successive governments, other smaller regions like Cairns and Townsville had received more funding attention than the Sunshine Coast.
“And despite being a leading tourism destination, we have not seen major investment in tourism infrastructure in the Sunshine Coast for more than 25 years.
“From our perspective, there is a clear need for an entertainment, convention and exhibition facility to boost our tourism offer and tap into a significant part of the international and national tourism markets.
“Other regions have been able to do this for some time and the Sunshine Coast is turning away major conventions and exhibitions because we don’t have the facilities to host them.
“Council has the land and the strategy to see a facility of this type delivered – but we need a contribution from the State Government to make this happen.
“This Council stands ready to work with whoever is elected on January 31, so we can achieve great outcomes for this region.
“The playing field must be in good shape – and the team must work together – if we want to see the Sunshine Coast play a great game.”
Sunshine Coast Top 10 Priorities
Policy commitments – to build community and investment confidence
- No further major adjustments to the boundaries of the Sunshine Coast local government area.
- Statutory preservation of the Regional Inter-urban break
- Beerwah East site – and not the Halls Creek site – is retained in the SEQ Regional Plan as the identified growth area in the Southern Sunshine Coast corridor
- A fair outcome on the infrastructure agreements for Caloundra South – to minimise the flow-on costs to other ratepayers of infrastructure required elsewhere in the region as a result of this development
- Approval of the Environmental Impact Statement for the expansion of the Sunshine Coast Airport and support for Federal Government approvals and financing strategy.
Infrastructure commitments – with clear timing and funding arrangements
- North Coast Rail Line duplication from Beerburrum to Nambour (cost approximately $2 billion).
- Inclusion of the Caboolture to Caloundra Road interchange, six lane upgrade in the Bruce Highway Action Planfor delivery by 2025 (cost approximately $2 billion, with the State Government share approximately $400 million).
- Upgrade of the Sunshine Coast Motorway, Nicklin Way and Mooloolah River Interchange (cost approximately $440 million based on concept launched by the Queensland Government on 19 August 2014)
- Provision of a high quality Bus Corridor between Caloundra and Maroochydore (cost approximately $400 million). This could be a potential forerunner to a light rail network – if light rail is determined as the longer term public transport solution for the Sunshine Coast.
- A contribution of up to $100 million towards the delivery of an entertainment, convention and exhibition centre in the Maroochydore Priority Development Area (PDA).