LNP announces rail audit

RAIL services in parts of regional Queensland will go under the microscope as part of a new government initiative to improve transport reliability.

On Thursday the Queensland Minister for Transport and Main Roads Scott Emerson announced an independent audit of the city rail network, including the Sunshine Coast, Ipswich and Gold Coast lines.

The audit team, independent of Queensland Rail, will canvass the entire south-east Queensland network, including civil structures, maintenance and network issues and Queensland Rail's current and future maintenance.

Mr Emerson said the aim was to reinstate confidence in the rail network and eventually increase rail patrons.

"Sunshine Coast commuters, they get impacted by the city network as do Gold Coast commuters as well," he said.

"They all get impacted when they are coming down here and that is where the problems seem to be in the city network and they have a flow-on affect to areas like the Sunshine Coast."

Sunshine Coast-based lobby group Rail Back on Track submitted a petition to Queensland Parliament last year calling for the duplication of the line from Beerburrum to Nambour in response to unreliable train services and congested carriages.

Mr Emerson said while the Sunshine Coast was an important area for the government, it was primarily focused on delivering its election promises.

He said the LNP had already delivered on its election promise to slash commuter costs, including free trips for Go Card commuters after nine trips and halving the projected public transport fare increase to 7.5%.

"The slashing of the increase in fares makes a massive difference," he said.

"It's more than $1000 in terms of what they would have paid under Labor compared to what they will pay under the LNP.

"As we look at the city network initially that will improve the situation for Sunshine Coast commuters.

"They were affected coming into the city network by those (rail) failures in February and March."

But regions outside the reaches of the city rail network, which extends to just west of Ipswich to Rosewood, south to the Gold Coast and north to Gympie, will have to wait.

"We will look at this first and move on after that," Mr Emerson said.

A report will be finalised by June 30.

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