‘Lazy’ State pollies need to step up for Coast: mayor
Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson says the time for “lazy representation and buck-passing” is over as the council outlines its priorities for the upcoming State Election.
Addressing media on Friday morning, Cr Jamieson said no other Queensland election had been more important for the Coast.
“I think everybody recognises the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought upon our communities and our economy in particular,” he said.
“The recession and a need for recovery, plus decades of under investment from successive state governments of both major persuasions.
“I don’t think it’s good enough when you consider the contribution that our residents make to economy. We’re entitled to get a much better outcome.”
Cr Jamison said the council did not want to see “long shopping lists of unreasonable or unjustified funding and policy commitments”.
Instead, the council is seeking a clear plan for economic recovery, a commitment that the next state government will delivery critical infrastructure responsibilities in the region, and policy commitments which will help preserve the liveability of the Coast.
Sunshine Coast Council is seeking the following commitments from political parties and candidates contesting the 2020 State Election:
- Provide statutory protection – by primary legislation – to preserve and maintain the Regional Inter-Urban Break.
- Endorse Council’s submission to UNESCO for the region to secure a Biosphere designation.
- Confirm the State’s contribution to, and deliver, the expansion of the Bruce Highway from Steve Irwin Way at Beerburrum to the Caloundra Rd Interchange by 2025.
- Address the $230 million funding shortfall for the duplication of the North Coast Rail Line from Beerburrum to Landsborough.
- Maintain the existing $7.5 million commitment to deliver the detailed business case for Stage 1 of the Mass Transit solution by December 2022, with the Department of Transport and Main Roads to lead the development of the detailed business case.
- Subject to the outcome of the business case for the Mooloolah River Interchange upgrade (which is due to be completed by December 2020), commit to fund and deliver this critical project within the next term of government.
- Contribute $20 million towards the $68 million required to deliver stage 1 of the expansion of the Sunshine Coast Stadium (to be matched by the Federal Government).
- Provide $100 million (to be matched by the Federal Government) to deliver the $226 million Sunshine Coast Convention and Exhibition facility by 2023-2024.
- Provide policy and regulatory support for the Sunshine Coast to position itself as a Digital Trade Hub.
- Commit to finalise a City Deal for south east Queensland by the end of July 2021 and support the development of the candidature file (ie. bid) to host the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Queensland.
“It is ambitious, but the Sunshine Coast is a very ambitious place. If we’re not, we’ll continue to see the hard-earned taxes paid from people of the Sunshine Coast spent in other areas,” he said.
“We contribute to the state about $1.6 billion … By comparison, Sunshine Coasters pay council about $350 million in rates. So we want a fair share of that $1.6 billion that we contribute every year back in the form of investment.”
Cr Jamieson took aim at sitting Sunshine Coast members of parliament, including Maroochydore MP Fiona Simpson, for what he described as a lack of action.
“Existing MPs have been generously rewarded by residents for voting them into parliament,” he said.
“It’s high time they, and any candidate for that matter, demonstrated respect for our community with a clear plan to deliver what’s needed most.
“Anyone who’s served for 28 years, that’s enough. Ms Simpson, who’s a very nice person, but 28 years, two times in the government, what have we got to show for it?
“I would urge the people of Maroochydore to think long and hard about where they’re going to get the best outcome. Another four years of the same lack of delivery doesn’t enhance our region at all.”
Ms Simpson said she would “not be bullied or intimidated” by Cr Jamieson and accused him of “playing politics”.
“It’s incredibly disappointing when the mayor of the Sunshine Coast can’t pick up a phone to call you and talk to you but he goes out and attacks you,” she said.
“I do have a track record of getting access to public cancer services on the Sunshine Coast, to us building the Sunshine Coast University Hospital, to upgrading the Bruce Highway as well as a long list of other achievements.
“As part of an LNP government we will deliver the rail duplication line, we are delivering the upgrades to the Bruce Highway, we have a billion dollars-worth of congestion-busting projects with more projects to be announced very shortly.”
Cr Jamieson urged voters to ask candidates in their electorate what they were offering before the October 31 election.