My Local Campaigns
I am proud of the things that we have delivered locally so far, including;
- $1.6 billion of funding for upgrades to the Bruce Highway between the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane,
- $266 million in extra funding for schools in Fisher,
- $5 million for local mental health treatment and research at the Thompson Institute
- CCTV for Caloundra
- $3 million for upgrades to the Events Centre at Caloundra
- Commonwealth funded placements for a medical school at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital
I am however very aware of the things that are yet to be delivered. We have had a very successful first twelve months, but I will continue to fight for Fisher and the issues that local people care about in the years to come.
Duplication of the North Coast Rail Line
While I continue to work to progress the Government’s upgrades to the Bruce Highway, we cannot be satisfied with a century old, one track railway line between Beerburrum and Nambour. It reduces the number of trains that can run, increases congestion and travel times for passengers and impacts on tourism to the Coast. The 2017 Federal Budget contained a $10 billion National Rail Program that could be accessed by the State Government to make a difference, along with a $20 million fund to progress proposals of this kind under the Faster Rail Prospectus. Unfortunately, so far the State Government has done nothing to fund the rail duplication, and included no money at all for the project in their 2017/18 Budget. I will continue to put pressure on the Queensland Government to work with me to secure the Federal funding that is available for this project and fight to get this work done.
High speed internet and mobile coverage for the Hinterland
I know that there are still far too many areas in our Hinterland that cannot get high speed internet, or even decent mobile phone reception. This affects ordinary people’s lives, and it affects the strength of the local economy. You cannot run a successful business without high speed internet. I have already played a part in securing nbn access more quickly for Eudlo, Glasshouse and Beerwah and in securing ADSL upgrades for Mooloolah Valley. I will continue to work with Federal Ministers, the nbn, the Council, Telstra and Mobile Phone Carriers to make progress on fixing these blackspots and getting the high speed internet we need.
Bringing new highly skilled jobs to the Coast
I am committed to encouraging diversification of our economy so that we are not too reliant on traditional industries like tourism and construction, as important as they are. That is why I have launched the Fisher Defence Industry initiative, to get some of the Government’s $200 billion defence procurement spent here on the Coast. There are already Sunshine Coast businesses succeeding and growing in this space and offering highly skilled new jobs in our community. I am continuing to drive this forward with more activities to create greater opportunities for our community. I invited the Minister for Defence Industry, multi-national defence companies like Lockheed Martin, Airbus and Boeing as well as local businesses who have succeeded in the defence industry to speak to more than 150 local companies at the first Sunshine Coast Defence Industry Forum and have followed this up with further Forums and workshops to help local businesses to succeed.
Improved support for Local Veterans & Mental Health
I want us to do more to support the many veterans in the Sunshine Coast community. I will be hosting a Veterans Forum to get feedback on what veterans on the Sunshine Coast need and how the Government can support them. I will also be pushing hard in Canberra to get further Federal funding for the Thompson Institute so that they can set up a program of treatment and research into post-traumatic stress disorder, an all too common challenge for our local veterans.