The Queensland Government has committed an additional $1.121 billion to faster rail services between Brisbane, Logan, Beenleigh and Gold Coast as the first piece of infrastructure to help prepare the city for the Olympics.
Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, said the major project would see more tracks laid and level crossings removed to support faster, more frequent train services.
“Delivering new transport infrastructure that will create jobs and ease congestion are central to our COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“We’ve seen significant growth in South East Queensland over the last two decades and we expect this to continue with an extra 1.2 million people living in the region by 2036.
“My government is committed to seeing transport times between the Gold Coast and Brisbane reduced, as we continue to see the population increase in key suburban areas along the rail corridor.
“It’s only thanks to our strong health response and economic recovery that we’re able to deliver important projects like this that will be critical to serving our growing population and ensuring we’re prepared for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”
Ms Palaszczuk said the project had potential to create 900 jobs, and has called on the Federal Government to match the state’s funding to ensure the delivery of this project.
“To ensure South East Queensland can continue to grow, we must keep evolving our rail network so it plays a bigger role in moving people from A to B.
“We continue to see progress made on the transformational Cross River Rail project, which today’s investment will complement – meaning faster, more frequent journeys,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
Transport and Main Roads Minister, Mark Bailey, said trains between Kuraby and Beenleigh currently share a single track in each direction.
“We are limited in the number of peak services we run each day, but by duplicating the track between Kuraby and Beenleigh stations, we can increase capacity through the region,” Mr Bailey said.
“Local motorists will also benefit with five level crossings to be removed and nine stations to be upgraded – vastly improving the amenities available to local commuters.”
Mr Bailey said the state government’s funding commitment will benefit key areas in the growing South East. He expects this project to deliver an abundance of economic and social benefits to the Logan region, and those who use the rail line to travel between the Gold Coast and Brisbane.
“Thanks to our strong health response we’ve seen an even stronger economic recovery, which means we have more Queenslanders back at work and school, and more trips on public transport.
“In the week that school went back, there was a 50 per cent increase in public transport use and we expect this number will continue to grow as we get back on track.
“That’s why investing in this infrastructure now – leading to jobs creation through construction and operation, while providing better access to public transport for the growing Logan community.
“We saw some great results from recent community consultation, demonstrating that locals are engaged and helping to shape the future design of this important overhaul.”
Mr Bailey said the Federal Government had already committed $178.1 million in preconstruction funding.
The recently completed business case puts this project at a total cost of $2.598 billion.
“As with our previous commitment, it’s important the Federal Government come to the table and honour the 50:50 funding arrangement currently in place.
“The Palaszczuk Labor Government has gone it alone on massive infrastructure projects, like Cross River Rail, and it’s time the Australian Government shows its commitment to Queenslanders,” Mr Bailey said.
Australasian Railway Association (ARA)Chief Executive, Caroline Wilkie, said that this project would have a transformative impact on the region.
“With South East Queensland’s population set to surge, faster rail will be essential to support regional development and reduce traffic gridlock between Brisbane and the Gold Coast,” Ms Wilkie said.
“This is fantastic news for the people of South East Queensland and the 1.2 million people set to make the move there over the next 15 years.”
Since March 2018, Infrastructure Australia has included ‘Gold Coast rail line and station improvements: Kuraby to Beenleigh’ in the Infrastructure Priority List and the South East Queensland Regional Transport Plan identifies an upgrade of the Kuraby to Beenleigh section of the rail network as a priority action.