Written by Reece D’Alessandro
Produced for online by Jessica McGrath
Commuters from the Gold and Sunshine coasts could soon be getting to work a lot faster if Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has her way.
The Federal Budget had no room for Queensland’s $5.4 billion Cross River Rail project.
Premier Palaszczuk has ramped up her campaign against the Turnbull government with a letter to the Prime Minister asking him to back a different project.
A bullet train connecting the Gold Coast to Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast would change travel across South East Queensland.
Rail Back on Track’s Sunshine Coast spokesperson Jeffrey Addison says it is well overdue “on the Sunshine Coast with a population of some 360,000 people and their service by a single-line track.”
He says the project is nice in theory, but he “can’t see that it would ever get off the ground”.
Project proposals without any follow through is something people of the South East are familiar with.
“It becomes a political issue and it becomes a State-Federal funding issue and… it doesn’t fit the people of Queensland at all,” Mr Addison says.
He says the economic benefits of the bullet train to the Sunshine Coast are actually greater than the Cross River Rail project.
Mr Addison says both sides of the government have acknowledged the Cross River Rail is needed because of the single river crossing.
“Certainly that needs to happen and hopefully the Queensland Government can get it’s third business case presented in a way that the Queensland government are willing to fund it.”
RACQ senior media advisor Lauren Ritchie says the RACQ is keen to see the project in the South East.
“Cross River Rail project is RACQ’s number one infrastructure project that we need to see committed funding across all parties.
“We need Federal funding to get it kick started and get it from a business case into a reality, but of course we still need State Funding.”
She says the time for talk is over.
“We can’t afford to continue to waste [time], we are going to get busier and busier, only more people are going to be moving to South East Queensland and [we] need a viable public transport network.”