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Fast Rail from Brisbane to Sunshine Coast Could Become a Reality

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Fast Rail from Brisbane to Sunshine Coast Could Become a Reality
The Federal Government is evaluating a fast rail project that could connect Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast in as little as 45 minutes.

A consortium of planners has developed the confidential plan according to The Courier-Mail.

The plan, North Coast Connect, would be the first rail link between Brisbane and Maroochydore. It would create 200km of fast rail saving about two hours’ travel time on a return trip.

The project has been submitted by Stockland, Smec, Urbis and KPMG, and reportedly has the backing of 26 Queensland federal parliamentarians, who are demanding the Prime Minister give Queensland a majority slice of $10 billion set aside under its National Rail Program.

It is understood the project has been short-listed by the Government.

[Related reading: High-Speed Vision for Five New Cities Connecting Canberra, Sydney Melbourne]

Member for Fairfax Ted O’Brien, who has been driving the project on behalf of the LNP, said that the “Team Queensland” parliamentarians “are going after this one hard”.

“With $10 billion available from the Turnbull Government, we need to be advocating for billions, not millions,’’ O’Brien said.

“Fast rail means people can live, work and play where they want, without the stress of excessive commuting times.

“It will expand job and study options, enable more lifestyle choice and build an economically strong and user-friendly southeast corner.

“If we can get fast rail, as opposed to standard 100-year-old rail, we’ll see people wake up in Nambour at 7 o’clock and be at their desk in Brisbane by 8 o’clock.

O’Brien said the project could cost anywhere between $3-$5 billion, and would have the potential to create thousands of jobs, relieve pressure on the Bruce Highway and revitalise Nambour.

Stage 1 would include an upgrade of the existing line from Brisbane to Beerburrum. Stage 2 from Beerburrum to Nambour would entail new rail and upgrades of existing rail, and Stage 3 from Beerwah to Maroochydore would include a 40km spur line branching off the North Coast Line.

North Coast Connect is the only Queensland fast rail project to be short-listed along with 10 others vying for three business cases that the Commonwealth will consider funding.

Originally Published: theurbandeveloper.com

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Infrastructure

Council commits to new Coast convention centre

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Council commits to new Coast convention centre

MONEY from the sale of Sunshine Coast Council land will be reserved to help bring a convention and exhibition centre to the new Maroochydore CBD.

A new facility is expected to cost about $200 million and the council commitment is intended to encourage state and federal contributions.

The commitment was made in a confidential session of the most recent council meeting after a motion moved by Cr Jason O’Pray was successful with seven votes for and three against.

Mayor Mark Jamieson, Cr Tim Dwyer and Cr Peter Cox opposed the motion.

Cr O’Pray could not release details of the yet-to-be-sold property or how much money would be raised but said he thought making the financial commitment, on top of providing the land, was a positive step in achieving a suitable facility.

He said he took advice from council officers in making the plan.

“I had tossed and turned about this for quite some time when I knew we were selling land in Maroochydore,” Cr O’Pray said.

“My main reasoning for quarantining this money was because I’m absolutely certain we will need state and federal backing on this.

“It is really important to me to see the CBD has its own convention centre.”

He said securing a private backer would be “even better” than relying on government funding for the project.

“Council can clearly not afford that (cost) on its own.”

Cr Jamieson was contacted for comment but declined to publicly detail his reasons for opposing the motion, with a council spokesman saying the mayor did not disclose matters discussed in confidential session.

The spokesman said the council would contribute to a convention and exhibition facility by providing the land on which it was developed and in all likelihood, having to cover the ongoing annual maintenance and other costs.

“The ratepayers of many other regions across Queensland have not been required to contribute towards the cost of developing their convention and exhibition centres,” the spokesman said.

“The cost to construct such facilities in many of these locations has been borne by the State Government.”

He said a new functional brief and specifications for a new convention and exhibition centre had been completed.

Consulting firm PG International was engaged by the council in March last year to complete the work.

“The functional brief and specifications will inform the development of a business case and preliminary design, which will be done if and when, funding becomes available.”

A Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning spokesman said the department didn’t currently have any funding allocated for a convention and exhibition centre on the Coast.

However, he said the minister for the department and the former director-general wrote to all local governments on March 12 inviting submissions for the Maturing the Infrastructure Pipeline Program.

He said the grant program was available to all local governments through a competitive process to undertake strategic planning for infrastructure and develop business cases and detailed design.

Submissions close on April 9.

“Sunshine Coast Council could make a submission for potential assistance in developing its business case for this project,” the spokesman said.

Source: www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au

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Infrastructure

Fast rail a boon for future generations

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Fast rail a boon for future generations

Sunshine Coast Business Council chairwoman Sandy Zubrinich said the North Coast Connect project, which looks to draw on rail duplication and the CAMCOS corridor, would cater to the bulk of current and future Coast populations.

She said about 65 per cent of the current population of about 170,000 people lived within proximity of the CAMCOS corridor and 85 per cent of the future Coast popualtion growth is to the region’s south, in proximity to the rail corridor.

“Locals will benefit significantly from the increased connectivity,” she said.

The North Coast Connect project has received Federal Government backing by way of a share in $20 million for a business case to be developed.

It was one of just three projects nationally to secure the funding and the Palaszczuk Government has also committed $5 million towards the business case.

Supported by Brisbane, Moreton Bay, Sunshine Coast and Noosa councils, the project is seen by Ms Zubrinich as one perfect for bi-partisan collaboration.

“It is certainly a project that the three tiers of government and the community can get behind and support,” she said.

The business case will be delivered by a consortium of KPMG, Urbis, Stockland and Smec and is expected to take 12-18 months to put together.

The vision is to slash travel times from the Coast to Brisbane down to 45 minutes.

Originally Published: www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au

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Infrastructure

Sunshine Coast Gets $225m Airport Runway in Tourism Boost

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Sunshine Coast Gets $225m Airport Runway in Tourism Boost
The Sunshine Coast will open up to more airborne visitors as a result of the construction of a new airport runway, generating demand for more tourism accommodation and services.

Construction and engineering group John Holland has been awarded the $225 million contract to deliver a new and enlarged runway at the Sunshine Coast Airport. The runway is due for completion by Christmas 2020.

Sunshine Coast Mayor Jamieson said that with increased air capacity will come the demand for new hotel accommodation as well as the refurbishment of existing stock.

“The new runway will accommodate larger, more fuel-efficient aircraft and open up direct access for the Sunshine Coast to more Australian cities, international markets in Asia and the Western Pacific and in turn, drive significant economic growth.”

Sunshine Coast Airport runway

The new runway is part of the Airport Expansion Project, and when complete is expected to contribute $4.1 billion to the Sunshine Coast’s economy over the period to 2040 – generating around 2,230 jobs and boosting tourism as well as providing new direct access to the region and access new markets for food and agribusiness sectors.

The expansion is part of a $372 million privatisation deal with Palisade Investment Partners. Palisade took control of Sunshine Coast Airport last year under a 99-year lease with Sunshine Coast Council.

The long-term lease sees Palisade responsible for operating, investing in, and developing the airport, as well as overseeing future expansion of both domestic and international routes available to and from the Sunshine Coast.

Current estimates for the whole project sit at $303 million, including design, environmental offsets and works undertaken to date.

The Australian Government and the Queensland Treasury Corporation have helped to bankroll the expansion project, providing around $181 million in concessional loans which will be repaid from the proceeds that council receives from its commercial partner, Palisade Investment Partners, in 2022.

John Holland Group will take possession of the project site over the next couple of weeks to start preparing the site for the dredging works to commence mid-year.

The project is on track for completion by Christmas 2020.

Originally Published: theurbandeveloper.com

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