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Mass Transit
Now renamed to Sunshine Coast Public Transport Project (SCPT)

What is Mass Transit

The Sunshine Coast Regional Council (SCRC) has been working on a public transport plan they call "Mass Transit" for a number of years. On April 28th 2021, they released their "The Draft Options Analysis Report".  This report showed a public transport Masterplan that deemed the 13.6km coastal corridor from Maroochydore to Birtinya as the first public transport priority for the Sunshine Coast.  Operational by 2027.  It looked at numerous public transport options for this corridor but recommended only 5 options:

  • Quality Bus Corridor,

  • Bus Rapid Transit,

  • Light Rail Transit, (with overhead wires and fixed steel tracks)

  • Trackless Tram and

  • Wire free Light Rail.

Light Rail was rated the best performing option.

Images of the Gold Coast Light Rail

Mass Transit 13.6km route and potential high-rise development


The draft report also referenced the need to significantly increase the population density along the coastal corridor.  (see New Planning Scheme more details)  A major selection criteria for the 5 options was their ability to deliver "urban renewal" in the corridor. 

"The relationship is mutually beneficial ……- an infill focus in the corridor will support light rail and the establishment of a light rail corridor can be expected to be a catalyst for urban infill development.

SCRC Urban Transformations Directions Paper 2017"




































The route and 5 options were not chosen because they were the best transport solution for the whole of the Sunshine Coast, but because they are the best options to facilitate high-rise development.  All the other options such as heavy rail along the CAMCOS corridor  (that would benefit way more residents) were deemed to be further down the priority list with no timeframe for implementation.

What is the Process?

The project is spread over 3 phases

  • Strategic Business Case:

Completed and accepted by Council July 2019   (no Community consultation)

  • Preliminary Business Case/Options Analysis:

    • PBC Interim Findings report Jan 2020 (accepted by Council Feb 2020)

    • Renamed and rewritten to "Draft Options Analysis" late 2020.

    • Draft Options Analysis Report released April 28 2021

    • 8 week community consultation conducted April 28- June 22 2021 (Majority of Community feedback was ignored)

    • Final Options Analysis report was presented to Council October 21, 2021 where Council voted (6-5) to progress it to the Queensland State Government for the final stage, the Detailed Business Case

    • Click here to view more details.

  • Detailed Business Case: 

    • Currently in progress by the Queensland State Government. 

    • Project renamed to the Sunshine Coast Public Transport Project. 

    • Completion pushed out to mid 2024.

    • Estimated cost $15 milion

    • Light Rail now ruled out as a viable option

    • Business Case focus is now only on Rapid Bus Transit

Where are we in the Process?

We are heading toward the end of the process but still a long way from seeing anything actually delivered.  The options have been narrowed to one, Rapid Bus Transit, and the Detailed Business Case is due for completion mid 2024.   Thankfully common sense has prevailed and Light Rail is no longer being considered. 


This Business Case will be used to determine the cost of constructing and operating the Rapid Bus system.  For the project to be impletmented it will require funding from the Federal Government, the State Government and likely, the Sunshine Coast Regional Council.  It may also involve money from private enterprise.  The process of acquiring funding is a lenghthy one and could take years.  At the moment no levels of government has committed any money to implement this project.  There is no guarantee this project will ever be delivered.  We will have to wait and see.


On 20 October 2021, the Sunshine Coast Regional Council (SCRC) voted to endorse the Sunshine Coast Mass Transit Options Analysis Report and to have the CEO advance it to the State Government (TMR) for the preparation of the third and final stage, the Detailed Business Case (DBC). The DBC was budgeted to cost $15million which was to be jointly funded by SCRC and TMR. It was estimated it would be completed by mid to end of 2023.  The revised completion date is now mid 2024.


Since the Council handed the Options Analysis to TMR, the following has occurred:

1. $5m of funding has been provided by the Federal Government reducing SCRC and TMR's commitment to $5million each.

2. The Memorandum of Understanding between TMR and the SCRC was finally signed in March 2023.

3. TMR has expanded the project and renamed it "Sunshine Coast Public Transport" (SCPT) Project

4. TMR conducted their own public consultation on their 'Draft Southern Sunshine Coast Public Transport Strategy",  in March 2022. 

5. TMR are simultaneously running a $14million study looking at the Camcos Corridor, Beewah to Maroochydore (Sunshine Coast Direct Rail Line), expected to be complete end of 2023.

6. TMR has retained external consultants to complete Detailed Business Cases for:

a) Sunshine Coast Mass Transit Project (, (Due for completion mid 2024) and

b) Direct Sunshine Coast Rail Line.  (Due for Completion October 2023)

7. TMR ran public consultation on 4 of their key transport projects for the Sunshine Coast region in August 2023.  These projects were:

  • Direct Sunshine Coast Rail Line

  • Sunshine Coast Public Transport Project (Previously Light Rail)

  • Mooloola River Interchange

  • Kawana Motorway

8. TMR announced in mid 2023 they would form community Stakeholder Interest Groups (SIG) to sit across all public transport projects currently under investigation on the Sunshine Coast.  They stated the primary objectives of the SIG's were to:

  • share local knowledge between community stakeholders and TMR and project teams

  • Test ideas and appproaches and act as a "sounding board" for the project teams

  • encourage the development of a collegiate and coaperative relationship between TMR and stakeholders to understand issues that affect the community.

  • act as a conduit to the broader community to share information and generate understanding about the projects within the terms of SIG's.

9. TMR announced in November 2023 they had narrowed the options for the Sunshine Coast Public Transport Porject down to only 2: Bus Rapid Transit and Light Rail.  Another round of public Consultation was done.

10. TMR announce Light Rail is dead and they will progress to further investigation of Rapid Bus Transit only.


MTAG has been appointed to the SIG and attended two meeting.  Based on these two meetings it is questionable how much influence the SIG will have into the two business cases.  


Despite having already spent over $12 million on the project and committed a further $5million on funding for the DBC, the SCRC has gone silent on the project, with minimal updates to the Council's website and no Community updates given.  It is our understanding DTMR are now running both projects but with input from the SCRC.  


MTAG has been advised that the SCPT project is running well behind the timing the SCRC originally proposed. Estimated completion of the Detailed Business Case (orginally mid to late 2022) is now estimated to be mid 2024. Implementation timing after that is unknown.

Shaded area represents potential high-rise development 

Red line is the mass transit route

Source: PWC Preliminary Business Case Interim Findings Jan 2020 P 13

Background Information

Why does SCRC prefer Light Rail?

Light rail is preferred because it has the greatest ability to deliver urban renewal/infill ie higher density, high-rise housing.  Historical Council documents continually refer to this.

"The options assessment process concluded that only the LRT option and potentially the BRT option are considered to have significant benefits in achieving the important land use criterion. The Quality Bus Corridor option is based on bus lanes, and although it performs well in terms of transport and cost, cannot achieve the full range of urban renewal benefits sought for the SCMT Project in the Sunshine Coast Urban Corridor."

Preliminary Business Case Interim findings report 2020

Who has paid for this so far?

Normally all three stages of the process would be conducted by and paid for by the Queensland State Government (QSG).  However the Sunshine Coast Regional Council (SCRC) have taken it upon themselves to conduct and impose the cost onto rate payers for stages 1 and 2.  Over $12 million has been spent so far.  This has been funded from the annual transport levy all rate payers pay.  This is a cost the QSG should bear, not the rate payers of the Sunshine Coast.

The SCRC, the QSG and the Federal Government have committed $5 million each ($15million) for the completion of stage 3, The Detailed Business Case.  


If this plan progresses it is likely to cost over $2billion to construct.  It will require funding from all levels of government so everyone will continue to pay even though it does not benefit them.

Business Case Total Spend = $27 million

Implementiation cost =$2+ billion


Click here 
Cr Joe Natoli explains Mass Transit and Increased Density in simple terms.

Watch Cr Joe Natoli's share his thoughts as he rides the Light Rail on the Gold Coast

This is happening on the Gold Coast  Now!

Listen to the noise Light Rail Makes!

Who are the Councilors responsible for this plan? 

The Sunshine Coast Mass Transit Cross Departmental Working Group was established in Aug 2018 to steer the Sunshine Coast Mass Transit Project. 
The Working Group Comprised of: Mayor Mark Jamieson, Cr Tim Dwyer, Cr Rick Baberowski, Cr Christian Dickson, Cr Peter Cox, Cr John Connolly, and Cr Jason O'Pray

Following the March 2020 election the Working Group was re-established as the Sunshine Coast Mass Transit Control Group Comprising:
Mayor Mark Jamieson, Cr Rick Baberowski, Cr Peter Cox, and Cr Christian Dickson.

Deputy Mayor, Cr Rick Baberowski thinks Light Rail is a good idea!

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