UNDER FIRE: Queensland opposition leader Tim Nicholls.
UNDER FIRE: Queensland opposition leader Tim Nicholls. Mike Richards GLA240717SLNP

LNP launches petition calling for Coast rail duplication

THE Bruce Highway duplication from Caloundra to Caboolture remained a higher order priority than a second motorway to the Gold Coast but both would ultimately be needed to address congestion in the south-east, according to Queensland's peak motoring organisation the RACQ.

The focus of the state pre-election campaign shifted to the Sunshine Coast yesterday with deputy Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington declaring the LNP "unashamedly pro-Bruce Highway".

The statement came the day after Opposition leader Tim Nicholls launched a petition for a second super highway to the Gold Coast.

RACQ spokesman Paul Turner said funding existed to upgrade the existing M1 to the Gold Coast with the Federal Government also committed to $8.7 billion over 10 years for the Bruce Highway in an 80-20 split with the State Government.

Work is already under way on the Caloundra and Sippy Downs intersections and highway upgrade and a further $800 million was committed for upgrades between Caloundra and Brisbane.

But Mr Turner said any congestion solution had to include duplication of heavy rail to Nambour and Labor's Cross River Rail centrepiece to create a genuine alternative to road transport.

Both projects he said were genuine congestion busters.

Ms Frecklington met with Sunshine Coast State MPs at Landsborough yesterday to launch a petition calling for the rail duplication saying residents had suffered heavily congested roads and unreliable train services for too long.   

"The Federal Government has put $10 billion on the table to fund urban rail projects and the opportunity is there for Sunshine Coast commuters to finally get two tracks," she said.

LNP Shadow Transport Minister and Glass House MP Andrew Powell said duplication between Beerburrum and Nambour would provide more than 150 extra weekly rail services and improve transport reliability while easing Bruce Highway congestion.

Mr Frecklington said highway upgrades were not a case of the Gold Coast versus the Sunshine Coast, saying the problem was Labor's only infrastructure priority being the $15 billion Cross River Rail for inner-city Brisbane.

Deputy Premier and Transport Minister Jackie Trad lashed out at the LNP saying Mr Nicholls was launching petitions supporting projects to which he won't commit funding.

"Yesterday, we saw Tim Nicholls and the LNP come up with a plan for a petition for the M1 with absolutely no funding commitment," Ms Trad said.

"And today, Tim Nicholls has got another plan for another petition, again with not a cent of funding attached. Tomorrow, we're expecting to see a petition calling on us to build Cross River Rail.

"If Tim Nicholls and the LNP were fair dinkum about getting these projects going they should join with the Palaszczuk government in telling his millionaire mate Malcolm Turnbull to give Queensland its fair share of infrastructure funding."

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