The Morrison Government’s refusal to properly fund the Sunshine Coast Rail Duplication confirms it has one rule for Victoria and another for Queensland on transport infrastructure funding.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack recently confirmed no more federal funding would be made available to the rail project.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the Federal funding shortfall may now require the project to be delivered in stages.
“It’s clear the Morrison Government is not prepared to play by its own funding rules because of the Sunshine Coast’s safe Federal LNP seats,” Mr Bailey said.
“The Morrison Government has committed billions of dollars to Victorian rail projects in recent weeks but not a cent for the Sunshine Coast,” Mr Bailey said.
“Earlier this month they committed $700 million to cover 80% of the cost for the South Geelong to Waurn Ponds Rail Upgrade in Victoria, despite Infrastructure Australia giving the project’s business case a thumbs down.
“Why would they do that? Because the project falls in an LNP-held seat that is also Victoria’s most marginal.”
Mr Bailey said the current LNP Federal Government added the Sunshine Coast’s North Coast Line to the National Land Transport Network in 2014, qualifying it for the same 80:20 funding as the Bruce Highway nearby.
“We have consistently said the Federal Government should stick to its own funding rules and commit appropriate funding for this project,” Mr Bailey said.
“The Morrison LNP Government has short changed Queensland on this project by at least $250 million, committing only $390 million for the $800 million project.
“The recent Federal Budget showed Queensland will only receive the first $60 million of that commitment by 2020/21.
“If the Sunshine Coast’s LNP MPs are serious about standing up for their residents, they should be asking their Prime Minister why this funding double-standard exists.
“Local members like Ted O’Brien and Andrew Wallace hold their seats with safe margins.
“It’s time they took some risks and started asking the tough questions of their own government, which has abandoned its responsibility to properly back the transport infrastructure needed to support the growing Sunshine Coast.”