The Mayors of Lockyer Valley and Toowoomba Regional Councils have said planning for passenger rail between Brisbane and Toowoomba needs to start ‘yesterday’.
Lockyer Valley Regional Council Mayor Tanya Milligan said the $15 million pledged by the Commonwealth Government in the 2018 Budget needs 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.
“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.
“In almost all other parts of South East Queensland, 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,” Mayor Milligan said.
Toowoomba Regional Council Mayor Paul Antonio said the economic opportunities and connections for the Toowoomba Region were both significant and obvious.
“Toowoomba is the gateway to western and southern Queensland and is a major residential, business and tourism centre,” he said.
“The proposed 2032 Olympic Games in SEQ is expected to bring events, teams and visitors to the Region and along with the Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport, we need sensible and forward-thinking passenger services.
“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,” Mayor Antonio said.
Both mayors agreed it was vital for local government 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.