Thursday, 30 November 2023
Fairfax Electorate: Transport Infrastructure
The Sunshine Coast is one of the fastest growing regions in Australia—and for good reason. We are a lifestyle capital. Our natural environment is second to none. We have a very tight-knit community, and we are the most entrepreneurial region of the country.
We are experiencing net migration like no other place in the country, and one of the growing pains for the Sunshine Coast, for some time now, has been a lack of transport infrastructure. So the objective has been to put the building of infrastructure ahead of the population curve. Now, there are three big priorities here: (1) Bruce Highway, (2) North Coast rail line and (3) Sunshine Motorway. The Bruce Highway and the Sunshine Motorway present challenges to safety. Then, when you add on the rail, there are serious issues with travel time, especially with congestion. For the Bruce Highway and the North Coast rail line, the former coalition government was able to secure over $4 billion to upgrade those networks. Never before had the Sunshine Coast seen so much federal government funding for infrastructure than under the previous coalition government.
For the Sunshine Motorway, although it is 100 per cent the responsibility of the Queensland government, the former coalition government announced $160 million towards that $320 million project around the Mooloolah River Interchange at the southern end of the Sunshine Motorway, which is the real pain point for people, especially locally. In morning and afternoon traffic, it is effectively a car park. We put that $160 million on the table to force the hand of the state. Eventually, it worked. Planning was done and construction was ready. In fact, we had hundreds of houses moved. We had residents relocate—and then what happened? After Labor candidates at the last federal election promised they would honour it, and after the Albanese government promised, in office, they would honour it, the Labor government have subsequently scrapped that $160 million for that project, effectively ripping it out.
Those residents that had moved houses—amidst a housing crisis, no less—are now faced with the prospect of looking at their old homes with no such road being built. Our communities are at a standstill. This is going to be dangerous for our residents, and the government, including people in this chamber, laugh. That's how Labor feels about the Sunshine Coast.