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MEMBER for Fairfax Ted O'Brien wants the community to get on board a campaign for fast rail and rail duplication on the Sunshine Coast.
Mr O'Brien upped the ante yesterday by launching a community campaign for 45-minute train trips to Brisbane.
He has sent a flyer to every address in his Fairfax electorate and he's inviting people to "Get on Board”.
"I invite residents to pledge their support by filling in their details on the flyer and posting it back to me at no cost,” Mr O'Brien said.
"Each one of us can make a difference by adding our names and voices to the campaign.”
In last year's Federal Budget the Coalition announced its $10 billion National Rail Program to fund city and regional passenger rail projects.
"Never before have we had a federal government that's had the appetite to contribute to this type of project and so we can't muck around as a community, we need to go hard and go strong now because there is no guarantee that opportunity will continue to exist into the future,” Mr O'Brien said
"My colleagues in Canberra and the State Government in Brisbane need to know there is overwhelming community support for this project and that as a region we will fight for what we deserve.”
The North Coast Connect fast rail project has already secured federal funding to produce a business case within 12 to 18 months.
"We're talking about bringing heavy rail onto the coastal strip for the first time in the Sunshine Coast's history,” Mr O'Brien said.
"We're also delivering on a vision of our forbears, who were smart enough to resume the CAMCOS corridor years ago in the hope that one day the community might actually get rail through to the Coast.”
Mr O'Brien described fast rail as the key game-changing project on the table for the Sunshine Coast right now.
"Faster rail and duplication of the North Coast Line will not only reduce rail commuter travel times, but it will also ease congestion on the Bruce Highway with travellers choosing fast, reliable public transport over their own vehicles, Mr O'Brien said.
"It will open up productivity and export opportunities boosting local businesses and increasing jobs.
" The more the Sunshine Coast grows the more our small and medium businesses export to other regions so we need to ensure their supply chains can move swiftly.
"Rail duplication and fast rail means improvements in freight distribution and with fewer cars on the Bruce Highway truck distribution will also happen more swiftly.
"Faster rail will give people greater flexibility in where they live, work and play.
"As a region we need to leverage our strengths and that means our natural environment and existing industries. Hinterland rail towns will be revitalised as families choose to live on the Sunshine Coast while accessing work in Brisbane.
"And our tourism industry will surge as Brisbane's city dwellers jump on a train for a quick trip to the beach.
"We need to support our current and future populations. On average our population is older and for senior citizens access to transport is vital. We're also going to have a much younger population as we go after a smart, education economy.
"We're going to have the University of the Sunshine Coast linking to the Moreton Campus so there'll be an enormous student corridor there. We need to make public transport more easily accessible and fast rail is exactly the sort of transport we need.”
Mr O'Brien said fast rail could also help drive down the cost of housing on the Sunshine Coast.
"Most economic commentators agree that the problem with housing affordability in Australia is related to a lack of supply. Introducing fast rail accelerates supply. Revitalising old railway towns will increase housing supply and opening up a new rail corridor with the potential for housing where none currently exists will also see developers take their stock to market sooner with the increase in supply putting downward pressure on price.”
Infrastructure Australia released its 2018 Priority List of projects last month which included the Beerburrum to Nambour Rail Upgrade but the works remain unfunded.
"For years Sunshine Coast residents have been demanding modern infrastructure and we now have record Federal funding for the Bruce Highway and the airport, but we also need funding for rail,” Mr O'Brien said.
"Let's swing in behind the vision of faster rail between Brisbane, Moreton Bay and the Sunshine Coast as the business case for North Coast Connect gets underway.”
"We have already built a unity ticket with Federal MPs, State MPs and four Mayors coming on board and now we're inviting residents and the community at large to join the action.”
You can also Get On Board and register your support by going online to http://www.fastrail.com.au
This article first appeared on www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au
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