Whilst Sunshine Coast Business Council Chair Sandy Zubrinich has welcomed the investment commitment made by Queensland Premier Steven Miles in  Sunday’s announcement regarding the Direct Sunshine Coast Rail Line between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast, she has expressed disappointment that the much-anticipated rail connection will not extend into the Maroochydore CBD ahead of the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“The Business Council has, for many years, advocated loudly and consistently for a commitment by all levels of government to deliver heavy rail from Beerwah to Maroochydore – essential in providing an enhanced public transport network for the coastal areas of Sunshine Coast and in activating the Maroochydore CBD, Australia’s largest master-planned city centre,” Ms Zubrinich said.

“Delivering the infrastructure from Beerwah to Maroochydore provides regional benefits to the key communities of Aura, Caloundra, Birtinya, Mountain Creek and Maroochydore which cannot be achieved by staging.

“We have talked about timeframes to deliver this project since well before the Olympic Games, but had hoped that this opportunity to be on the world stage would be the catalyst for the State Government to finally make a genuine commitment to deliver this game-changer project for our region.

“While the funding commitment to deliver heavy rail to Caloundra is significant, it falls short of what is needed to deliver rail into Maroochydore which is long overdue.  

“We have significant investment in the Maroochydore CBD, with the likes of the Sunshine Coast Council, Walker Corporation and others coming to the table, and yet the State Government will not acknowledge how critical this economic precinct is in growing our local economy and creating jobs for the 150,000-plus people they project will move here in the next 15-20 years.

“The CBD will be the heart of the Sunshine Coast with a convention centre, entertainment precinct and residential accommodation, all expected to be accelerated by hosting the Sunshine Coast’s athlete’s village for the 2032 Games. Certainty is required from both the State and Federal Government to ensure this $7b investment commitment is locked in and extended to deliver passenger rail into Maroochydore within the next decade.

“While we may be one of the fastest growing regions in the country, we have constantly been overlooked when it comes to rail infrastructure investment. Now we have a ‘promise’ (of course, with caveats), for rail into Caloundra by 2032 and no hard timelines for stages 2 and 3. 

“Again, we call on State and Federal Governments to secure the funding and commit to delivering heavy rail to Maroochydore by 2032.”