RAIL PROMISE: Tim Nicholls has committed an LNP Government to a start on a $600m Sunshine Coast rail upgrade.
RAIL PROMISE: Tim Nicholls has committed an LNP Government to a start on a $600m Sunshine Coast rail upgrade. Warren Lynam

LNP delivers on first stage of rail duplication

THE $600 million rail duplication to Landsborough North from Beerburrum would start in the next term of an LNP state government, party leader Tim Nicholls has promised.

And he's expressed confidence his $300 million commitment would be matched by the Federal Government, revealing he had already had talks with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull about the project.

Advocacy group Rail Back on Track has praised the election commitment, with spokesman Robert Dow urging Labor to also commit after One Nation and the LNP have identified it as a priority project.

Mr Dow said the upgrade would save 15-17 minutes in travel time between Landsborough and Beerburrum and potentially more as well as improving reliability.

Mr Nicholls said the Prime Minister had indicated strong support for the rail upgrade, a critical section of the 40km of work through to Nambour the community has long demanded.

He said only $1.3 billion of the $10 billion National Rail Project fund had been allocated to date and none to Queensland.

Mr Nicholls said an LNP government would also undertake scoping of the final duplication route through to Nambour.

He said the business case showed investment in the project would return better than a corresponding level of economic benefit, would create 1800 jobs during construction and would be packaged to allow Sunshine Coast contractors a crack at winning work through the LNP's Buy Local program.

The project would add 150 services to Brisbane a week with the aim of reducing Bruce Highway congestion.

Mr Nicholls dismissed as a furphy Labor claims the Cross River Rail was needed first, saying the Coast project was well advanced before the city tunnel project was contemplated.

He said there was a need for a future river crossing but remained unconvinced the business case existed for it to be built before 2026.

"The existing problem is here on the Sunshine Coast, not in the future," Mr Nicholls said.

He dismissed concerns of delays in the $5.4 billion Cross River Rail project expressed by the Queensland Infrastructure Association and Engineers Australia Queensland division, saying both had a clear interest in advancing projects.

The $300 million funding was immediately criticised by One Nation leader Steve Dickson (Buderim) who said at best it would build one third of the project.

Mr Dickson said the LNP leader was deluded to think that after years of neglecting the area, a promise of $300 million less than four weeks from the election would fool voters. He said with the balance of power One Nation would dump the Cross River Rail project and reallocate funds to the rail and other worthwhile infrastructure.

"Under our plan $850 million from that project will go into the rail duplication from Beerburrum to Nambour," Mr Dickson said.

Mr Dow said while the $600 million upgrade to Landsborough North was welcome, another $1.4 billion would be needed to complete the duplication through to Nambour.

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