Mar 12, 2024 | Local News

Questions raised about business case for Sunshine Coast Rail Line

Vivienne Wynter

Advocacy group, RAIL – Back on Track, said the benefit-cost ratios (BCRs) for the Direct Sunshine Coast Rail Line (DSCRL), released this month by the State Government, were‘abysmal’.

Announcing the release of the heavily edited business case, Queensland Minister for Transport, and Main Roads Bart Mellish said cost estimates for the full three stages of the new rail line added up to around $12 billion.

The Queensland Government has committed $2.5 billion to build Stage One from Beerwah to Caloundra.

RAIL – Back On Track spokesman Robert Dow said BCRs for the Direct Sunshine Coast Rail Line in the business case were poor.

‘RAIL – Back On Track notes that the BCR values are all far below 0.5 for all stages of the project.

Rail Back on Track spokesman Robert Dow

‘While BCRs for transport projects are traditionally challenging to calculate and there are benefits not easy to assign a dollar value to, these challenges have not prevented rail projects in Perth from demonstrating a positive BCR,’ Mr Dow said.

Completion of the full Sunshine Coast Rail Line depends on the Federal Government matching state funding.

Mr Dow said Infrastructure Australia was less likely to recommend federal funding for a project with a low BCR.

‘We think there is real concern about whether the Direct Sunshine Coast Rail Line will be delivered.’

Minister Mellish said some benefits associated with easing congestion and travel time savings were easily monetised while social benefits of public transport, such as improved quality of life, liveability, connectivity, accessibiity and social equity were unable to be monestised as easily.

‘This means these benefits are not considered as strongly within the economic assessment,’ he said.

‘Rail projects are also generally more expensive than road projects per kilometre.

‘This results in BCRs which appear lower than in other infrastructure projects.’

‘Sunshine Coast Direct Rail Line will create a lasting legacy for South East Queensland, delivering these benefits for future generations.’


PHOTO at top: artist’s impression of new train station: TMR




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