DUPE: Rail upgrades are high on the wishlist.
DUPE: Rail upgrades are high on the wishlist. Brett Wortman

ELECTION WISHLIST: Coast figures lay out their must-haves

AS THE Coast faces the task of selecting our leaders for the next three years eyes are warily cast to the past, as community leaders call for a shift in thinking from our next federal leaders.

Thanks to the safety of seats- Fisher an Liberal/LNP stronghold since 1993 and Fairfax (LNP/Lib from 1990-2013)- the region has suffered from a lack of priority from either major party.

Coupled with the Clive Palmer experiment that began and finished within three years and voters are rightfully wary.

What do you want to see politicians fight for?

This poll ended on 05 July 2016.

Current Results

Bruce Highway upgrade

47%

Rail upgrade

33%

Airport expansion

19%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

So what is needed to not only win the support of the community but help one of the country's fastest-growing regions sustain that growth?

There's a number of high-priority projects that, alongside other major developments, loom as game changers for the Coast.

They are:

Bruce Highway: The main arterial of the state has been underfunded for far too long.

Time and again we see multi-vehicle crashes that reduce the region's biggest road to a carpark and with 50,000 people set to move into Caloundra South over the next three decades there is now more than ever a need to upgrade the highway.

Rail Upgrades: There is some debate over whether the issue of the region's rail services are a State or Federal issue.

In fact, it's both. Upgrades to the North Coast Line- stretching north from Nambour- are under Federal jurisdiction, while the much-needed Beerburrum-Nambour duplication is a matter for the State Government.

Regardless, we need some strong, bipartisan leadership between two tiers of government to help ease pressure on our roads.

Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion: If the Coast is to experience the impacts of an international airport we're going to need assistance in the help of a concessional loan.

The $347 million upgrade will deliver a $4.1 billion economic benefit according to the council.

We've seen major infrastructure funding granted without any payback in marginal seats so it's time the Feds cough up for the Coast.

Undersea Cable: Obviously NBN availability is crucial to the success of this venture, but if the rollout of higher-speed internet takes shape and we can connect to the rest of world directly from the Coast there's no telling what sort of kick-start it may give our tech and business sector.

There are national security benefits to this proposal too.

Employment and Jobs: Youth unemployment, homelessness and housing affordability are constant battles for the nation and we are no different here.

 

BRIDGING THE DIVIDE

WHOEVER wins on Saturday will need to be a part of a Federal Government that delivers solutions in the form of better prospects to enable the poor to bridge the wealth divide.

But recent attention to some key stretches has been welcomed, in the form of more than $1 billion from Caloundra Rd-Sunshine Mwy and the fast-tracking of $187 million for the Maroochydore Rd interchange upgrade.

SUNSHINE Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson and Visit Sunshine Coast acting CEO Simon Latchford were on the same page when it came to highway funding, labelling it crucial to the region's future.

"How do we continue to develop our drive market with a road like that?" Mr Latchford asked.

"Obviously the Bruce Hwy is of critical importance to us."

Cr Jamieson said he was disappointed at the lack of commitment to the airport loan thus far, but hoped the project would win Federal support.

OSCAR's Ian Christesen was adamant rail duplication was the number one infrastructure need in the region and said he would also like to see the backpacker tax taken off the table, fearing the potential damage it could do to our tourism and agriculture industries.

Sunshine Coast Business Council chairwoman Sandy Zubrinich said she was looking for progressive, listening leaders who would bring the three tiers of government together to achieve results.

"We're a growing, modern economy that's going to require some different styles of leadership than might have been employed in the past here," she said.

"We certainly want doers, not talkers."

Sunshine Coast Environment Council spokeswoman Narelle McCarthy said a commitment to climate change was on the group's wish-list, while locally, support for the renewable energy sector, on the back of the Sunshine Coast Solar Farm project would also be welcomed.

Population stabilising and assistance for the disadvantaged on the Coast was also critically important.


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