Mooloolah River Interchange Business Case
“I welcome the announcement by Queensland Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey of $7.4 million in funding toward a detailed business case for the Mooloolah River Interchange. It is refreshing to see the Queensland State Government actually delivering funding for transport infrastructure that is their responsibility. Like the North Coast Rail line, the Mooloolah River Interchange is a project for which the State Government is wholly responsible, and I look forward to seeing the State Government commit the funding needed to build this new road when this business case is complete.
It is disappointing that the Minister does not plan to release the results of this study until the middle of 2020. The detailed business case for the far more complex North Coast Connect faster rail project, funded by the Federal Government in April, will be finished in the first quarter of next year. That’s less than 12 months after it was commissioned. Yet Minister Bailey claims not to be able to deliver the Mooloolah River Interchange business case until more than 18 months later. Unfortunately, Minster Bailey has a track record of long delays when it comes to badly needed planning studies. He promised that the results of the planning study for the Bruce Highway upgrades between Caloundra and Pine Rivers would be released by the end of 2017. Yet six months later, and despite no fewer than 10 direct requests to Minister Bailey from my office, we are still waiting. The Federal Government has already committed more than a billion dollars to fund these upgrades, and yet no work can begin because of Minister Bailey’s endless business case delays.
It is also highly disappointing to see Sunshine Coast Councillors again praising the State Government for failing in their responsibility to properly fund the North Coast Rail. The North Coast Rail is owned by the State and operated by the State. It is 100% a state responsibility, and yet the Minister prefers to play petty politics, misrepresent the Commonwealth’s commitments, and short change the people of the Sunshine Coast by $230 million. The Minister’s bald-faced hypocrisy in calling for a ‘fair funding deal for the Sunshine Coast’ while he throws $390 million of hard won Federal funding back in our faces is galling. Our unprecedented offer to fund 50% of the North Coast rail duplication, despite it being a state responsibility, is a powerful indication of how committed the Turnbull Government is to delivering for the Sunshine Coast and a stark contrast to Minister Bailey’s games. In the past two years, the Federal Government has committed more than $3.5 billion toward road and rail infrastructure projects between the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane. The Palaszczuk Government are the only ones not delivering a fair funding deal for the Sunshine Coast.”
Andrew Wallace MP
Federal Member for Fisher