Direct Sunshine Coast Rail Project Gains Momentum with $2.75 Billion Queensland Government Commitment

Sunshine Coasr Rail Extention Future Stations
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In a significant stride towards enhancing connectivity in Southeast Queensland, the Queensland government has pledged a substantial $2.75 billion for the initiation of the first phase of the eagerly anticipated Direct Sunshine Coast Rail project.

This transformative rail initiative is poised to revolutionize travel between the Sunshine Coast, Moreton Bay, and Brisbane, offering a compelling alternative that could slash travel times to Brisbane by at least 45 minutes compared to commuting by car.

The proposed rail line is strategically designed to stop at key locations, including Beerwah, Nirimba (Aura), Caloundra, Aroona, Birtinya, Mountain Creek, and Maroochydore, providing a comprehensive and efficient transport network for the region.

^Sunshine Coast Stage Map for Future Stations (Image: QLD Gov)
^Sunshine Coast Stage Map for Future Stations (Image: QLD Gov)

Deputy Premier Cameron Dick made the announcement on Sunday, highlighting the allocation of funds to construct a 19km dual track from Beerwah to Caloundra.

“The Direct Sunshine Coast Rail Line will transform South East Queensland.

“The Sunshine Coast has a growing economy and approximately 11 million annual visitors who currently rely on private vehicles, so this project will make it easier and faster to work, holiday, or travel to see friends and family.

“The Miles Government that can deliver this transformation, thanks to the strength of our budget and the capacity enabled by our investment in Cross River Rail.

“We look forward to the Federal Government hopping on board to match our commitment, so we can deliver this project, not just for 2032 but for decades to come.”

Fast facts:

The Direct Sunshine Coast Rail Line is a proposed 37.8km rail extension between Beerwah and Maroochydore to increase public transport opportunities and improve connectivity to Moreton Bay, Brisbane and beyond.

The detailed business case has determined an optimal realignment of the corridor between Beerwah and Maroochydore, which enables rail speeds of up 160km/h. The current trains can and do travel 140km/h, their maximum speed.

The realignment aims to minimise environmental impact and reduce curves in the line to allow for faster train speeds. The new corridor will be protected in 2024.

Over 80% of community feedback received during community consultation in 2023 were supportive of Direct Sunshine Coast Rail, helping inform the business case.

While the state government envisions completing the first stage by the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, construction is anticipated to commence in 2026, contingent upon the federal government matching the committed state funding. Notably, the Commonwealth had previously pledged $1.6 billion, and the state’s announcement seeks a matching commitment from the federal authorities.

The government’s business case, estimating the first stage to cost between $5.5 billion and $7 billion, has been submitted to Infrastructure Australia for scrutiny and validation.

Premier Steven Miles underscored the significance of the Direct Sunshine Coast Rail Line as a monumental investment in Queensland’s rail network. He emphasized that the direct rail connection would not only ease congestion on local roads but also unlock housing opportunities and accelerate the release of affordable developments.

“A direct rail connection to the Sunshine Coast will unlock thousands of homes in the growing Sunshine Coast region and accelerate the release of new, affordable developments.

“Without the rail line, that development would bring an unmanageable level of congestion to the local road network, making this connection essential for new housing to be brought forward.

“The Direct Sunshine Coast Rail Line is another record investment in Queensland’s rail network from our government, building on the multi-billion dollar rail revolution currently underway.”

Deputy Premier and Treasurer Cameron Dick echoed these sentiments, stating that the project would be a game-changer for the region, making it more accessible for residents, workers, and visitors alike. The call to the Federal Government to match the funding commitment emphasizes the urgency of moving forward with this transformative rail project, which is poised to create thousands of jobs, support regional growth, and provide a fast, reliable, and sustainable transport option for the Sunshine Coast.

^Cameron Dick Announces the Sunshine Coast Direct Rail Extention Plans (Image: The Australian)
^Cameron Dick Announces the Sunshine Coast Direct Rail Extention Plans (Image: The Australian)

The first stage of the Direct Sunshine Coast Rail Line is poised to play a pivotal role in facilitating new housing developments, catering to a substantial population. The project aims to provide housing for 50,000 individuals at Caloundra South and accommodate up to 100,000 residents at Beerwah East. Anticipated as a catalyst for growth, the initial stage is projected to expedite the realization of over 3,000 planned affordable and diverse homes within the region. The funding for Stage 1 is estimated to fall within the range of $5.5 billion to $7 billion, with precise costs to be determined upon the conclusion of the procurement phase. Employing a ‘funding envelope’ strategy, a common approach in comparable projects globally, allows for finalizing costs when contracts are executed.

In addition to its impact on housing, Stage 1 of the project is expected to generate substantial employment opportunities in the region. Projections indicate that approximately 2,200 jobs will be created, contributing to economic growth and providing a boost to the local job market. As the project progresses, it not only addresses the housing needs of the community but also stands as a promising source of employment, reinforcing its multifaceted significance for the Sunshine Coast and its residents.

Note: The information presented in this article is for general informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal, financial, or professional advice. While we make every effort to fact-check and verify the information presented, we cannot guarantee its accuracy or completeness. Readers are encouraged to independently verify any information they find on our website and to consult with relevant professionals before making any decisions based on the information presented. The Australian Development Review does not own the rights to the information included within this article, and furthermore, there is no infringement intended from the included text and images within.

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