The Sunshine Coast is facing a serious shortfall in road, rail and public transport infrastructure.
The Sunshine Coast is facing a serious shortfall in road, rail and public transport infrastructure.

ANALYSIS: Coast lacks ‘squeak’ to make wheels turn

SQUEAKY wheels get the most oil, which is the reason the critical infrastructure required to sustain a region growing at the rate of the Sunshine Coast has not been delivered.

The Sunshine Coast University Hospital is a massive piece of infrastructure in terms of both its size and the financial commitment required to build it.

The University of the Sunshine Coast is also expanding rapidly assisted in part by wealthy benefactors like Roy and Nola Thompson who have dug deep to build car parking facilities and more recently to fund a Brain Institute which may ultimately define the tertiary institute.

Those investments by government and individuals mask serious shortfalls elsewhere across the region in road, rail, public transport and TAFE colleges for a community now well past 300,000 and projected to grow to half a million people by 2040.

Sunshine Coast Council's attempts to kick start the economy through its CBD investment and airport expansion have received no support from the other two tiers of government with even its renewable energy project at Valdora unable to attract backing.

The central Sunshine Coast seats of Fisher and Fairfax, up until 2013, had been firmly held by Coalition members since 1993 when a redistribution dislodged Labor's Michael Lavarch after two terms.

Fisher's boundaries were markedly different then than they are now.

It was held from 1949 to 1972 by Charles Adermann and then by his son Evan until 1984 when he shifted to Fairfax after a redistribution.

In 1984 it passed to the then National Peter Slipper who lost it in 1987 before regaining it for the Liberals in 1993.

Slipper whose achievement highlights centred around is personal use of members' entitlements held on until 2013 when the LNP replaced him with Mal Brough.

Fairfax stayed firmly in the grip of Liberal and then LNP member Alex Somlyay for 23 years before it was lost after his retirement to Clive Palmer in 2013.

University of the Sunshine Coast lecturer in politics Bronwyn Stevens said Fisher, Fairfax or both may need to become squeaky wheel marginal seats before the central Sunshine Coast wins the attention it needs from government.

Ms Stevens sees the Clive Palmer experiment as a revolt against the region being ignored.

Paradoxically, she says, that experiment may stall further exploration of alternatives to the status quo which has also delivered little.

University of Queensland Professor of Politics Graeme Orr said communities were generally better off in swinging seats but that was not always the case. The Gold Coast was reasonably well-serviced while having a large swathe of conservative seats.

He said that may have to do with the calibre of MPs.


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