SUNSHINE Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson has outlined the core commitments the council is seeking from all 2022 Federal Election parties to advance the prosperity, connectivity and liveability of the region.
The priorities focus on investment in public transport, road transport, climate readiness and the 2032 Brisbane (SEQ) Olympic and Paralympic Games – regional development and for the Sunshine Coast to receive a fairer share of funding.
“The Sunshine Coast remains one of the fastest-growing regions in the nation, with the population expected to grow from 350,000 to well over 500,000 by 2041,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“With this significant growth, our focus remains on ensuring that our region is connected and has the essential infrastructure to meet the growing needs of our communities.
“While our council and our region are grateful for the recent Federal Budget announcement of a $1.6 billion contribution to deliver a new rail connection from Beerwah to Maroochydore, this is just one of the many projects that require commitment from all parties contesting the Federal election to maximise our advocacy efforts with the Queensland Government and to ensure the commitment is fulfilled, regardless of the outcome of the poll on May 21.
“With Brisbane to host the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games and the Sunshine Coast as a key delivery partner, it has never been more critical for our region to secure support from all levels of government, particularly for essential public transport and social infrastructure solutions.
“The 2032 Games presents a unique opportunity for all levels of government to work together to ensure a lasting legacy is realised for the Sunshine Coast and Queensland.
“Our advocacy document outlines the core commitments our council is seeking from all parties to advance the prosperity, connectivity and liveability of our Sunshine Coast.
“We remain committed to working with whoever forms government to ensure that our region’s objectives are achieved and that our residents and our communities are in a position to realise our vision of being Australia’s most sustainable region – healthy, smart, creative.”
· A commitment to maintain within the Commonwealth Budget, the recently announced $1.6 billion as the Federal government’s contribution to the delivery of a new rail connection from Beerwah to Maroochydore, with greater clarity provided on the timing and delivery of that project. In addition, Council seeks a commitment from all parties to advocate vigorously to the Queensland Government to provide a matching contribution to enable this critical project to proceed and be delivered prior to 2032.
· Pending the outcome of the Detailed Business Case for the Sunshine Coast Mass Transit project (currently led by the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads), commit to jointly fund the delivery of the first stage of a mass transit solution for delivery by 2027.
· An agreement to work with the Queensland Government to resolve any funding deficit for the duplication of the North Coast Rail Line from Beerburrum to Landsborough, with a commitment to find a solution to facilitate the extension of the upgrade to Nambour.
· Consistent with the current financial commitments (80% Australian Government/20% Queensland Government), a clear timing and funding commitment to complete the expansion of the Bruce Highway between the southern Steve Irwin Way exit and Caloundra Road by December 2027.
· A commitment of $250 million as the Commonwealth’s contribution to Stage 2 of the Mooloolah River Interchange (subject to matching funding from the Queensland Government).
· With regard to emissions reduction – Support to more rapidly secure investment to develop local business capability and technologies that accelerate emissions reduction, expand the uptake of renewables and financially support the establishment of cutting-edge circular economy industries.
· Commitment that urban enhancements provide opportunities to not only accommodate our increasing population but also respond to changing climate hazards via the delivery of appropriately designed and located infrastructure, including the drainage and stormwater network and stronger urban greening efforts.
· Integrated and collaborative leadership, encouragement and support for our communities to reduce their emissions and increase their adaptive capacity and resilience to a changing climate. For example, facilitating improved building design outcomes for private dwellings and greater access to suitable finance options to support investment in climate-resilient homes.
2032 Brisbane (SEQ) Olympic and Paralympic Games – Regional Development
· A commitment of $36.6 million to be available from the 2022-2023 financial year as the Federal Government’s contribution towards the delivery of the Stage 1 expansion of the Sunshine Coast Stadium, so that the venue is capable of staging Olympic football events as well as support the attraction of ongoing national sport and international entertainment content to the Sunshine Coast.
· A minimum of $100 million commitment – to be matched by the Queensland Government – to deliver the first stage of a flexible use, contemporary Exhibition and Convention Facility in the Maroochydore city centre, to support the delivery of Games-related events as well as underpin the growth of the region’s share in the business events, conventions and entertainment markets. The detailed business case for this facility has been with the Federal Government since January 2020 – it only requires a clear funding commitment to enable this facility to be progressed.
Council is seeking a commitment from all parties that the next Federal Government will restore the value of the Commonwealth Financial Assistant Grants to local government to the equivalent of 1% of total Commonwealth Taxation Revenue.
The Sunshine Coast Council 2022 Federal Election Advocacy Priorities document can be found on council’s website.