Why Lockyer to Toowoomba passenger rail is needed now
TWO mayors have joined their voices in a plea for planning to begin for a passenger rail between Brisbane and Toowoomba.
Lockyer Valley Regional Council Mayor Tanya Milligan has said the $15 million, pledged by the Commonwealth Government in the 2018 Budget, needed to be put to use immediately.
"With the signing of the Bilateral Agreement at the end of November there should be no impediment and no further delays in work commencing on the business case for passenger rail to Toowoomba," she said.
"In almost all other parts of SEQ, people commute to work by train between cities and regions and right now it's an opportunity denied to both the Lockyer Valley and Australia's largest naturally established inland city, Toowoomba."
She noted the long history of improved opportunities provided by transport corridors like this.
"Electric passenger rail from Sydney to the Blue Mountains occurred in the 1950s and opened up whole new economic opportunities for the region and it seems only reasonable for the same to occur in our region," she said.
At present, commuters from the Brisbane and Ipswich can only travel by train as far as Rosewood, before having to change over to a bus or pursue other means of transport.
A passenger line from Brisbane to Toowoomba would strengthen connectivity throughout the regions it passes through.
"Toowoomba is the gateway to western and southern Queensland and is a major residential, business and tourism centre," Toowoomba Regional Council Mayor Paul Antonio said.
"The proposed 2032 Olympic Games in SEQ is expected to bring events, teams and visitors to the region. As the Federal Government encourages communities to manage future droughts through diversification, we have an opportunity sitting before us now to open up these regions and make that happen."
Both mayors agreed it was vital for local governments to be actively involved in scoping the business case and that they expected to have a seat at the table when the time came.
Lockyer Valley and Toowoomba Regional Councils will work with key local stakeholders and neighbouring councils to ensure every reasonable opportunity was explored in the development of the business case.