Mayor welcomes rail, urges cost-of-living help

Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Rosanna Natoli is calling on the Australian Government to use Tuesday night’s Federal Budget to address cost of living pressures, housing affordability and the short-fall in infrastructure investment in one of the nation’s fastest growing regions.

Mayor welcomes rail, urges cost-of-living help

Mayor Natoli said these were consistent themes raised with her during the recent Council election campaign and key elements of her 10-point plan.

“I am pleased to see we are off to a positive start with today's (May 13) announcement that the Australian Government is increasing its commitment to the Direct Sunshine Coast rail project from $1.6 billion to $2.75 billion to match the recent commitment by the Queensland Government,” Mayor Natoli said.     

“On behalf of our Council and the Sunshine Coast community, I welcome this matched commitment by the Australian government as one of the most critical infrastructure investments that we want to see delivered for our region.

“An effective, reliable and sustainable public transport network is critical to the liveability of the Sunshine Coast and supporting the productivity of our economy.

“We need this to help people move around, get to work and access services and relieve unmanageable traffic congestion.

“Our Council looks forward to working with the Australian and State governments on how this investment can be stretched to deliver this project beyond Caloundra – with our ultimate goal of securing funding to deliver the rail connection to Maroochydore.”

Mayor Natoli also highlighted that like all communities across Australia, the Sunshine Coast is grappling with cost of living challenges and housing affordability.

“With an aging population and increasing numbers of young families, cost of living pressures are particularly pronounced for the many members of our community who are on fixed and/or lower incomes,” Mayor Natoli said.

“I therefore urge the Australian Government to maintain a laser-like focus on providing relief now to those members of our community who are most vulnerable to cost of living pressures and those struggling to find affordable housing.

“The Australian and State governments have many more policy levers at their disposal than Council to alleviate the burden of rising prices and household costs and I encourage them to do everything they can in this space.”

Mayor Natoli said more support for pensioners, increasing subsidisation of medicines available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, accelerating the roll out of the outcomes of the National Housing Accord or further taxation relief measures for those on lower incomes was needed.

“What is equally important for a community like the Sunshine Coast – which for nearly three decades has experienced one of the highest growth rates of any region in the nation and will continue to do so – is that we have the infrastructure that supports and accommodates that growth,” she said.

“Our Council’s ask is very simple. We want to see the Australian Government reinstate what we lost last November when the Australian Government revised its Infrastructure Investment Program.”

Mayor Natoli said she specifically wanted to see the following projects included in the Federal Budget:

  • reinstatement of the $7 million in funding withdrawn from the Caloundra Transport Corridor Upgrade project
  • restoring the critical $160 million commitment to jointly fund – with the State – Stage 1 of the Mooloolah River Interchange as this project is critical in terms of relieving unmanageable traffic congestion and enabling essential public transport systems to be delivered in the urban coastal corridor where most of our population lives.

This article Mayor welcomes rail, urges cost-of-living help has been supplied from the OurSC website and has been published here with permission.