PM pitches fast train to paradise
THE Morrison Government will move to stop southeast Queensland from becoming spaghetti junction by unveiling a fast rail plan that rapidly connects commuters but stops urban sprawl.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison will today reveal funding for a fast rail business case for a 35-minute commute from Brisbane to the Gold Coast, on top of the work already being done on a fast rail plan for Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane to Toowoomba.
Today, Mr Morrison will announce five new business cases nationwide, costing $40 million, as part of the Government's wider vision to take pressure off cities and keep dying regional centres alive.
Funding for a Brisbane to Gold Coast business case is a significant win for The Courier-Mail's Future SEQ campaign, which was supported by Queensland councils crying out for a long-term vision to help one of the fastest growing regions in the country.
About 3.4 million people live in the southeast and it is projected to increase by an extra 1.8 million by 2041.
The PM's 20-year fast rail plan will be bolstered by a new National Fast Rail Agency to guide the work and determine priorities.
It is likely the Government will enter into public-private partnerships to fast track the building of the new fast rail networks.
"As our population grows, fast rail networks are crucial to easing the congestion pressures in our cities and shaping Australia's future," Mr Morrison said.
"As well as reducing our migration cap and introducing new visas and incentives to encourage more migrants out to the regional areas that need their skills, our record investment in congestion-busting infrastructure is key to tackling Australia's population challenges."
Member for Fairfax Ted O'Brien said a fast rail network would modernise the southeast corner.
"This announcement delivers on a vital piece of a larger, more compelling transport puzzle,'' Mr O'Brien said.
"Southeast Queensland is not one big city like Melbourne or Sydney … we have distinct communities that are spread out … and we therefore need transport solutions that can connect these communities, and this is where fast rail comes in."
He said the southeast did not want to morph into one big city, and it was time to plan.
"One of the biggest challenges of government is ensuring transport infrastructure stays ahead of the southeast Queensland population curve."