Independent and FREE - 2021 Best Online Publication

$1.6 billion pledge could deliver rail to the Coast

Independent and FREE – 2021 Best Online Publication (Qld Country Press)

$1.6 billion pledge could deliver rail to the Coast


'Out of cars and onto trains': the $1.6 billion bid that may finally secure rail for the Sunshine Coast

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A decades-old vision for a rail network connecting the Sunshine Coast with Brisbane is finally on track after a staggering funding commitment from the Federal Government.

A whopping $1.6 billion has been allocated to advance the long-awaited CAMCOS project — which has not progressed since 1999.

Federal Member for Fairfax and Special Envoy for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Ted O’Brien, told Sunshine Coast News the government was offering the State Government a “compelling” 50-50 funding deal on the $3.2 billion venture.

Mr O’Brien said Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Transport Minister Mark Bailey both had recently indicated the plan was worth re-examining in 2022 because of the 2032 Games and population growth.

“I would be very surprised if the State Government did not see the enormous benefit of this and come to the party,” he said.

“This is about more than connectivity. It will help alleviate population growth pressures in our region by shifting housing density around new stations.

“It will get people out of cars and onto trains, and help activate Australia’s newest greenfield CBD at Maroochydore.

“This is the most transformative project the Sunshine Coast will see in generations.”

The 37km passenger rail line would branch east from Beerwah to Caloundra and Maroochydore and could be completed within a decade.

Red shows the proposed CAMCOS line from Beerwah to Caloundra and Maroochydore.

There would be key stations just west of the Caloundra Road/Pelican Waters roundabout (opposite the old tourism information office), Kawana, near the Sunshine Coast University Hospital and the new Maroochydore city centre.

The project would support 9550 direct and indirect jobs during the construction phase.

Federal Member for Fisher and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Andrew Wallace, said the Federal Government had already delivered funding for the duplication of the North Coast rail line, upgrades to the Bruce Highway, Steve Irwin Way and the Mooloolah River Interchange to the tune of nearly $3.7 billion.

“This additional $1.6 billion delivers on our number one priority of bringing heavy rail to the Coast, connecting the hinterland and our coastal communities,” Mr Wallace said.

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Federal Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, Paul Fletcher, said this was a significant investment in the future of the Sunshine Coast.

“The Beerwah to Maroochydore passenger line has been championed for over six years by local Federal Member for Fairfax, Ted O’Brien, and Federal Member for Fisher, Andrew Wallace,” Minister Fletcher said.

Federal Minister Paul Fletcher, pictured right, with MPs Ted O’Brien and Andrew Wallace.

“This $1.6 billion investment shows that the Morrison Government is serious about delivering for the Sunshine Coast by funding the infrastructure it needs to host a successful 2032 Olympics and support the projected population growth across the region over the coming decades.

“The Federal Government will continue to work closely with the Queensland Government on
investment planning to deliver this important transport link, which was recently identified as a priority in the Queensland Government’s proposed 2022 Southern Sunshine Coast Public Transport Strategy.”

CAMCOS, which stands for Caboolture to Maroochydore Corridor Study, has been talked about since 1999, but no significant progress has been made in the decades since, other than:

  • Identifying the proposed corridor
  • Buying and securing land along the proposed corridor
  • Upgrading and duplicating the line between Caboolture and Beerburrum

The Beattie Government claimed in 2007 that the first stage of CAMCOS to Caloundra would be open by 2015, followed by the second stage to Maroochydore by 2020.

It estimated the cost of the project back then to be $1 billion.

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