Renewed calls for Labor to cough up rail funds
SHADOW Treasurer Tim Mander will call for the Palaszczuk government to deliver 50 per cent of funding needed for North Coast Rail duplication, two days before advocacy group Rail Back On Track marks a decade since Queensland Labor broke a promise to build the link itself.
The LNP deputy Opposition Leader has accused the government of slamming the brakes on new jobs on the Sunshine Coast, declaring it only focused on Brisbane.
"Unemployment is rising on the Sunshine Coast thanks to a Labor Government that's only focused on Brisbane,” Mr Mander said.
"The LNP is backing the vital Sunshine Coast Rail Duplication to the hilt but the project is stuck in the sidings because Annastacia Palaszczuk won't commit the cash it needs.
"Yet while the Sunshine Coast is starved of funding, Labor is paying 100 per cent of the costs of Brisbane's $15 billion Cross River Rail project.”
The Coalition federal government has committed $390 million as a half share of duplicating the rail line to Landsborough with the Palaszczuk government putting in $160 million as part of its 2018-19 Budget.
Mr Mander claimed Sunshine Coast unemployment had risen by 0.7 per cent to 5.7 per cent over the past year with youth unemployment increasing by 4 per cent to 14 per cent.
He is on the Coast for a meeting with Caloundra Chamber of Commerce members.
Meanwhile Rail Back On Track Transport advocates will meet at Landsborough on Saturday to mark a decade since a 2005 state Labor government promise to build the link north to the town at a cost of $300 million, a price that has now doubled to more than $700 million.
Advocate Robert Dow said in a 2005 media announcement then Transport Minister Paul Lucas had promised a rail link from Beerwah to Caloundra by 2015 and to Maroochydore by 2020.
He said 50-50 funding for the link to Landsborough was a good outcome, given a state Labor government had promised to pay 100 per cent.
Mr Dow said the North Coast Rail may be part of the national freight line but was a very important passenger link from the Sunshine Coast to Brisbane.
Duplication to Landsborough, he said, would deliver more frequent and reliable services to the Sunshine Coast regardless of whether or not Cross River Rail was finished.