- Our region’s population of more than 320,000 is projected to grow to 518,000 in 2041 – a little over twenty years from now.
- That’s an increase of 198,000 people. It is the equivalent of adding the population of Townsville to that of our Sunshine Coast today.
- Currently there are approximately 1.3 million daily vehicle trips made in this region, 85% of which are by car and a similar percentage are within the region. This is forecast to increase to 2.4 million road trips per day by 2041, with the cost of congestion to our region forecast to increase to approximately $3 billion.
- We need to act to reduce congestion and manage and direct growth in a way that maintains our community’s quality of life and protects and preserves our hinterland and natural landscapes – and that is what our Council is doing.
- To achieve that goal, we need a major boost to our public transport network and a solution that encourages people to get out of their cars as their preferred mode of travel.
- Just adding an occasional extra bus service on a network that is already woefully inadequate for the needs of this region, won’t achieve our goal and preserve the liveability of our region.
- At the same time, we need to ensure the majority of housing and employment opportunities are in the locations served by quality transport services.
- Locating people close to where they live and work and enabling them to get to work in a manner that does not add more congestion to our road network, is what we need to do to protect our lifestyle, preserve our environment and ensure we have a productive economy
- Our Council is doing the hard yards to plan and advocate for a major new mass transit system for our Sunshine Coast.
- Now, the public transport network on the Sunshine Coast is a state government responsibility. Unfortunately,the State has not stepped up to the plate – something we have seen time and again, just look at their under-funding of the North Coast Rail Line.
- So, our council has taken up the cudgel to undertake the important planning and assessment studies for an integrated mass transit solution.
- Council wants our residents and our region to be able to secure the investment required by the State and Federal governments to deliver a contemporary and integrated public transport system that meets our community’s needs now and well into the future.
- The State and Commonwealth Governments both insist that large projects like this are subject to a multi-phase business case – starting with a strategic business case, leading to a preliminary business case and concluding with a detailed business case.
- Council completed the strategic business case in July last year and we’re now working on the preliminary business case, which will be completed in mid-2020.
- In May last year, I personally secured an agreement with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk that the Queensland Government would provide matching funding of up to $7.5 million for the development of the detailed business case. This final piece of the puzzle will be completed by the end of 2021
- All three phases of the business case process need to be completed in order for the project to qualify for funding from the Queensland and Commonwealth governments.
- To have any chance of securing the necessary State and Federal government funding, there must be a thorough and robust supportive business case.
- Past studies have suggested light rail is the best mass transit solution for local travel, but this is being looked at again, along with other modes of travel, to determine which system will deliver the right service that will meet the needs of our region in the most cost-effective and sustainable manner
- As for the connection to Beerwah from the coast, Council believes that will be best achieved by an extension of the rail system, seamlessly integrated with the mass transit solution identified for the urban coastal corridor.
- State and Federal government backing and funding will be essential for the delivery of a mass transit solution on the Sunshine Coast.
- Council cannot – and should not – have to deliver this on its own – when the State is responsible for the public transport network and has delivered solutions like this elsewhere.
- As important as the business case process is, we’ll be working hard to stress how critical it will be for the Sunshine Coast to avoid the worst effects of traffic congestion by delivering mass transit as our population grows. That is responsible planning and a hallmark of the Council which I have led.
Let’s Review The Facts Development Applications Development is an important sign of life in any community. Ask anyone who suffered during the Global Financial Crisis – a downturn that saw confidence disappear overnight, and really only return in the last 6 years. As much as 20% of our workforce gains their living from the development/construction and […]
Let’s Review The Facts Confidential Meeting Agenda Items Local Government in Queensland would have to be the most accountable of any level of Government in Australia. Generally, given it is free of party politics this also ensures the decisions made are made with the region and its long term future at heart. All resolutions of […]
Let’s Review The Facts The Importance Of Our Hinterland The Hinterland is a special place and a jewel in the natural landscape and appeal of our region. It provides a standard of liveability that is the envy of south east Queensland. Our Hinterland towns along the rail corridor will continue to grow in harmony with […]
Let’s Review The Facts Balancing Economic And Environmental Priorities When I was first elected as Mayor in 2012, the Sunshine Coast was on its knees. The region had the lowest levels of business confidence, high levels of unemployment, no commitments to the infrastructure that the region desperately needed and no relationship with the other tiers […]
Let’s Review The Facts Our Record On The Environment And Climate Change Under my leadership, our Sunshine Coast Council has been on a strong and consistent sustainability journey for many years. While we have had a focus on growing a stronger and more sustainable economy – because we had to – we have also made it […]