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Monday, 21 May 2018
Page: 4084


Mr WALLACE (Fisher) (18:22): I'm quite happy to speak to the original motion. The Sunshine Coast has a fast-growing population of more than 330,000 people and lies only 100 kilometres north of Brisbane. Yet for decades we've lived with a deadly two-lane highway and a single-track railway line built in the Victorian period and designed to carry farm produce in steam-shrouded locomotives. It is not good enough. People in our community ran out of patience with our antiquated infrastructure years and years ago.

Since before I was nominated as a candidate to be the federal member for Fisher, I have been determined to try and fix it. We started straightaway. Through my advocacy and that of the federal member for Fairfax and our colleagues in Team Queensland—you're one of them, Mr Deputy Speaker Howarth—in 2016 this government announced $734 million in federal funding to upgrade the Bruce Highway between Caloundra Road and the Sunshine Motorway. $734 million, and those works are actually happening as we speak. This dangerous bottleneck has been the site of too many fatal accidents and is one of the main gateways to our community. It has been inspiring to see the works begin on that stretch and it has spurred us on to do even more. In the 2017 budget we secured another $650 million from the Turnbull government for more upgrades, this time south of Caloundra, to extend the six-lane section, increase flood-proofing and improve important intersections.

After $1.3 billion in just two years, I was hopeful but realistic about what we might achieve for the coast's infrastructure in the 2018 budget, but this government has smashed even my highest expectations. We needed more funds for Bruce to add an extra lane all the way from the coast to Brisbane. We needed upgrades to junctions in North Brisbane to reduce congestion on the way into the city, and north of the coast we knew there was more work to be done to create a safer and more usable highway. The Minister for Infrastructure, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Treasurer listened to the needs of our constituents and responded with three massive additional investments in the 2018-19 budget. The government has allocated $880 million for upgrades between Caloundra and Pine Rivers, which will finally allow us to add an extra lane both ways all the way from Brisbane to the coast. We allocated $150 million for the Murrumba Downs section north of Brisbane to ease congestion at a key bottleneck, which you, Mr Deputy Speaker Howarth, would be well aware of. Finally, just north of my electorate, in the electorate of my friend the member for Wide Bay, the government has committed an extra $800 million to complete section D of the Cooroy to Curra bypass. This government has invested in total $3.13 billion in upgrading the Bruce Highway between the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane—investment which will get our commuters home safer and sooner, giving them more time with the family and less time stuck on what is becoming Australia's largest car park.

The member for Fairfax and I know, however, that we are kidding ourselves if we think that we're going to resolve our transport problems just by adding lanes to the Bruce Highway. We also need to duplicate our antiquated rail line and, if possible, deliver a new high-speed line to service the growing population centres of the coastal strip. Here too the Turnbull government has delivered where too many in the past have not. This budget includes $390 million towards the duplication of the north coast rail between Beerburrum and Landsborough and further upgrades north of Fisher. We need the state Labor government now to get on board and stump up their half of the money required. When they've done that, when they've put in their fair share, these upgrades will deliver more regular and reliable train services and get more freight off the Bruce and onto rail.

I'm delighted to say that the government is also looking to the future and has chosen the North Coast Connect high-speed rail project as one of only three in the country to receive millions of dollars in funding for a detailed business case. This high-speed rail project would deliver 45-minute travel times from Nambour and Maroochydore to Brisbane. I can't wait to see the outcomes of this study and I look forward to advocating for the money needed to build this high-speed rail when we have the results.