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Wednesday, 9 November 2016
Page: 3445

Mr WALLACE (Fisher) (10:39): On 26 October, I hosted the federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Darren Chester MP, on the Sunshine Coast to show him some of our growing region's major infrastructure priorities.

The recently released draft South East Queensland Regional Plan shows the rapid growth that is expected over the next 25 years when the population is estimated to almost double to nearly 500,000 through expansion in the growth areas of Caloundra South, Beerwah, Landsborough and Glasshouse Mountains. For too long, the Sunshine Coast has not fared well for infrastructure investment, but I am happy to say, with the minister's help, this is changing, and not a moment too soon.

In September we announced the long-awaited upgrade of the $929.3 million Caloundra Road-Sunshine Motorway interchange project that will help meet the transport needs of the Sunshine Coast region. This region depends on quality infrastructure for the success of its major tourism and services industries as well as an increased quality of life for local residents. However, that is not where I, or my Sunshine Coast LNP colleagues, plan to rest.

I have mentioned the current Bruce Highway Upgrade Planning Study in this place before and today I intend to do so again. The Australian government has provided $6.4 million to the $8 million study that is being undertaken by the Queensland government. The study is planned to conclude in mid-2018, but we on the coast know that it must happen much sooner than that. We have repeatedly called on the Queensland government to fast-track that study to be completed in 2017, and I call on them again today to fast-track it. This is not for me or my family but for the tens of thousands of motorists who use this notorious stretch of road every day. It is overcrowded, dangerous and well past its sensible use-by date.

During the minister's visit, I was also able to explain the importance of another overdue transport infrastructure project—that is, the duplication of the north coast rail line. This is a line that is essentially the same as it was when first built more than 100 years ago, and our region has grown considerably since then. Promised but never delivered by Queensland Labor governments in the recent past, it was the LNP that finally put forward a proposal in 2015 to upgrade the line and provide more than 150 extra weekly services, improving passenger and freight transport reliability and creating more than 3,000 new jobs during construction.

With a booming population and a lifestyle that is second to none, it is time that the Sunshine Coast got our fair share of infrastructure investment.