Queensland’s Sunshine Coast Rail Line will transform communities, bringing new jobs and housing

Australasian Railway Association

Sunshine Coast communities are set to benefit from the significant, long-term urban growth and renewal that rail projects such as the direct Sunshine Coast Rail Line deliver, Australia’s peak rail body says.

The CEO of the Australasian Railway Association, Caroline Wilkie, said research shows investment in rail projects future-proof communities along the rail corridor, delivering economic, social, safety and environmental benefits, along with thousands of new jobs and affordable homes.

“This $2.75 billion funding commitment from the Queensland Government for the Sunshine Coast Rail Line recognises the significant benefit to the economy, and therefore communities, of having a fast, reliable, sustainable rail service,” Ms Wilkie said.

“Faster rail in regional Australia, which is slow by world standards, is long overdue and is hampering the potential for the East Coast’s sustainable development.

“The ARA welcomes the Qld Government’s commitment to the direct Sunshine Coast Rail Line. We look forward to the outcomes of the business case assessment submitted to Infrastructure Australia and are hopeful this will result in additional funding from the Australian Government.”

Ms Wilkie said the ARA’s 2020 Value of Rail report shows that a rail patronage increase of just 2 per cent per year (nationally) takes 12 million car journeys off the road, resulting in $32 million saved from accident costs each year.

The direct Sunshine Coast Rail Line is forecast to cut the travel time by 45 mins from Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast, taking thousands of commuters off the roads, cutting congestion in one of Queensland’s fastest growing regions.

“That is a huge win for commuter safety and the environment. Rail passenger travel generates 30 per cent less carbon pollution than road travel for each kilometre travelled and is at the heart of Australia’s decarbonisation journey. Each train of commuters has an environmental benefit equivalent to planting 1800 trees a year.

“It is projects like this that support Australia’s journey to net zero and play a significant role in ensuring we reach this target by 2050.”

The direct Sunshine Coast Rail Line between the Sunshine Coast, Moreton Bay and Brisbane will have trains able to reach speeds of 140km per hour on some sections of the track, according to the Qld Government.

The first stage will see a 19 km dual track built from Beerwah to Caloundra, the longest spur line in the south-east passenger network, with second and third stages for the line to extend to Birtinya and then Maroochydore.

The Qld Government has said the initial stage of the project is forecast to accelerate the delivery of more than 3,000 affordable and diverse homes already planned within the region and support 2,200 jobs in the region.

The Sunshine Coast is forecast to be home to 600,000 people by 2046, expected to be concentrated along the first stage of the rail line, around Caloundra South (Aura).

The rail industry contributes some $30 billion to the Australian economy, according to the ARA’s 2020 Value of Rail report.

/Public Release.