Fast rail: Travel from the Coast to Brisbane in 45 minutes

LEADING VOICE: Fairfax MP Ted O'Brien has been pushing hard for the Sunshine Coast rail upgrade.
LEADING VOICE: Fairfax MP Ted O'Brien has been pushing hard for the Sunshine Coast rail upgrade. Patrick Woods

THE Sunshine Coast has been shortlisted for a fast rail project that would slash travel time to Brisbane to 45 minutes.

The project, North Coast Connect, is being pushed by an alliance of Queensland federal MPs, led by Fairfax MP Ted O'Brien, and a high profile corporate consortium, including Stockland, KPMG, Urbis and Smec.

Mr O'Brien said the project would revive the CAMCOS link, which would provide a branch line up the coast from Beerwah to Maroochydore. It would also involve an upgrade of the line to Nambour.

The MPs have called on the Turnbull Government to hand over a hefty chunk of the $10 billion funding under its National Rail Program.

The project was the only Queensland submission to make the short-list of 11 from the original 26 proposals.


Only three will receive a slice of funding, with the winning projects to be announced med-February by Urban Infrastructure Minister Paul Fletcher.

Mr O'Brien said the project could cost anywhere between $3-$5 billion, and would have the potential to create thousands of jobs.

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This poll ended on 25 January 2018.

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"Connecting the new CBD and new international airport to fast rail would deliver huge economic and social benefits to our region," he said.

"The fast rail would hugely relieve pressure from the Bruce Highway.


FAST RAIL: The project would see transport from the Coast to Brisbane take just 45 minutes.
FAST RAIL: The project would see transport from the Coast to Brisbane take just 45 minutes. Courier Mail

"And of course, it provides a dream opportunity to revitalise Nambour.

"If we can get fast rail, as opposed to the standard 100-year-old rail here on the Coast, where somebody can wake up in Nambour at 7am and be sitting at their desk in Brisbane's Adelaide St by 8am then we open up so many opportunities.

"This is far more than a transport solution. It's a vision for a better-connected Queensland and a better-connected Sunshine Coast."

Mr O'Brien said if successful, the Federal Government would fund 50% of the business case for the project with State Government, the Sunshine Coast Council and the private sector to fill the gap.

But the business case could take anywhere from 18 months to two years to finish and up to 10 years for the full project to completed.

However, Mr O'Brien said the fast rail from Brisbane to Nambour would be built within five years.

"There is no game- changer bigger for the Coast than this," he said.

"It's big and its bold.

"What we need to really get the project going in a ticket of unity among all governments, the community and investors.

"With a complicated project like this, it is expected there will be hurdles, but you don't get into politics to walk on egg shells the whole time."

Member for Fisher Andrew Wallace has also throw his support behind the project.

"Sunshine Coast Federal LNP Members understand that our transport woes will not be cured by simply adding lanes to the highway," he said.

Topics:  editors picks fast raile federal government funding general-seniors-news rail sunshine coast

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