By Phillip Rodda
Upgrades to local rail services is the key to unlocking more domestic and international tourism, a manager at one the Coast’s biggest attractions believes.
Aussie World travel manager Wayne Poole said the lack of quality transport to the region, especially trains to main attractions, was hurting tourism on the Coast.
“At the moment it’s the weakest link, we have no rail line here,” he said.
“If you’re a tourist coming from Brisbane to here, to be honest it sucks.
“People coming in from Asia with high-speed trains – that’s the level of transport they’re expecting.”
The Federal Government announced $390 million in the budget last month for the rail line duplication between Beerburrum and Landsborough with further future upgrades north to Nambour.
However, the plans are in doubt after Queensland Transport Minister Mark Bailey said the State Labor Government would not fund the remaining 50 per cent ahead of the June 12 budget.
Some locals believe rail duplication is only part of the solution.
Gympie resident Sue Robinson has to travel to the Sunshine Coast regularly for a heart specialist after recently undergoing surgery.
She catches the train from Gympie to Nambour at 5:50am because she in unable to drive due to her condition.
“Ever since my heart surgery, I can’t drive, so I rely heavily on the train,” she said.
“I have to be up at around 4am, because there’s only two services between Gympie and the Sunshine Coast, one in the early morning and one in the late evening.”
Mrs Robinson said she had no problem with the upgrades to the Coast but feels as though they don’t go far enough.
“I have nothing against the duplicating the railway to Nambour, but I think people living (on the northern side of the coast) in places like Gympie are being forgotten about,” she said.
“It’s fine for the highway to Gympie to be upgraded, because there is a lot of traffic and it needs to be done.
“But I just think more services to Gympie would encourage more people off the roads and make everything easier for everyone.”
Member for Fairfax Ted O’Brien believes Labor is letting down the Sunshine Coast.
“It doesn’t make sense that the State Government would forego 1800 jobs and an additional 150 services a week for some of fastest growing regions in Queensland just so they can play politics,” he said.
Member for Fisher Andrew Wallace said Labor should govern for all Queenslanders.
“Labor is more worried about the cross-river rail for inner city Brisbane, they need to remember regional Queensland exists too,” he said.