Media release: 13 December 2015SEQ: A Christmas wish – Duplicate the Sunshine Coast Line
RAIL Back On Track (http://backontrack.org
) a web-based community support group for rail and public transport and an advocate for public transport passengers has called on the state government to end secrecy over its plans for the Sunshine Coast Line rail track duplication to Nambour and spell out a timetable for its construction (1).
Robert Dow, Spokesman for RAIL Back On Track said:
“If ever there was a collective Christmas gift the Queensland Government could give the people of the Sunshine Coast, it would be certainty over the timetable for construction of dual railway tracks between Beerburrum and Landsborough North, and then onto Nambour."
“The economic benefits of this construction project and the flow-on stimulus to the region and state are enormous and are known to the state government, which is preparing a business case and cost-benefit analysis cloaked in secrecy. Previous studies have revealed that $1 spent on the Sunshine Coast Line duplication would generate $2.25 for the SEQ economy."
“The new study is doing the calculation based on 2015 dollars, but the result is likely to be very positive. Indeed, it seems a more extensive plan for the North Coast Line (including north of Nambour) is in prospect, but the state government won’t reveal any of the detail or likely timings."
“This uncertainty is stifling planning and investment decisions by the private sector. Also, many of the fly-in, fly-out mining workers employed in other parts of Queensland make the Sunshine Coast home. As the resources boom comes off the boil, affecting their jobs, the track duplication to Nambour would create new jobs for these people and sustain their spending contribution to the Coast economy."
“The latest advice from TransLink and the Department of Transport and Main Roads is that the cost-benefit analysis was due to be completed by the end of the year, with the results being used to inform the business case. The department has cited no reason, except to say it is not publicly available at this stage, in not releasing the details of what it calls the ‘North Coast Line Action Plan’."
“Clearly, the government is talking to industry and private financiers about the most favourable solution involving joint private-public funding mixes. While these may be commercially sensitive, this does not prevent the Palaszczuk government from explaining the timelines and stages for this preliminary work."
“We think it is also time for the government to pin its colours to the mast and stipulate what physical structural works it has in mind and what construction timetable it proposes. Recent wording in government strategic documents now refers to this project as ‘duplication to Landsborough and further upgrading to Nambour’, suggesting that the project scope has altered to involve dual tracks to Landsborough only, with longer passing loops on a single track further north to Nambour."
“By not spelling out the detail, the government is creating an impression that it lacks a coherent infrastructure agenda.”
"All we want for Christmas is two rail tracks, but it feels more like pulling teeth to get anything done. The time for playing Scrooge with the Sunshine Coast is over."
Sunshine Coast Region Spokesperson for RAIL Back On Track
RAIL Back On Track http://backontrack.org
1. The Sunshine Coast Case : Rail duplication Beerburrum to Nambourhttp://railbotforum.org/mbs/index.php?topic=6647.0