‘We’re all aboard:’ Burleigh light rail's green light
PREMIER Annastacia Palaszczuk will contribute $351 million to the next stage of light rail in a bid to have the trams running to Burleigh Heads by 2023.
the 6.4km extension that will run south along Gold Coast Highway from Broadbeach.
But the green light will depend on the outcome of critical talks between the Premier and Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday.
The State Government wants the Commonwealth to lift its Stage 3A pledge of $112 million to $269 million to ensure it matches the 38 per cent it tipped in for Stage 1. The cost of Stage 3A is $709 million.
"We're all aboard, our funding is now on the table," Ms Palaszczuk told the Bulletin.
The Premier acknowledged the Bulletin's light rail Stage 3 campaign, which began in 2015 immediately after the announcement to build Stage 2 from Parklands to Helensvale for the Commonwealth Games.
"All we need now is for the Federal Government to get on board too," she said.
In a recent meeting with the Prime Minister, the Premier said she expressed the importance of the extension and for a fair funding deal.
"The Reserve Bank of Australia has called on the Morrison Government to boost
infrastructure spending to support the national economy.
"Mr Morrison wants shovel-ready projects to fund, we have shovel-ready projects galore - $709 million is needed to build Stage 3A. What I've announced today is nearly half that amount.
"Currently the $112 million - or 16 per cent - the Federal Government has committed falls well short of a fair funding agreement and is just not good enough for the people of Gold Coast."
In June, the Gold Coast City Council committed a $92 million, about 16 per cent of the cost.
In its State Budget two days earlier, Labor held back on funding, asking Mr Morrison to "step up to the plate".
Building the track and eight stations is expected to create 760 jobs during construction.
"What we're asking the Morrison Government to do is commit $269 million to the project
which is the same proportion funding arrangement - 38 per cent - they invested in Stage 1," the Premier said on Tuesday.
"I'll be taking this up again with him again on Friday when he's in Queensland for COAG (Council of Australian Governments).
"This next stage is vital to creating even more jobs, connecting the southern Gold Coast to
the rest of the line and getting even more people on to public transport.
"If we get shovels in the ground as soon as possible it will take around three years to build Stage 3A, with the possibility of trams operating to Burleigh Heads in 2023."
Transport Minister Mark Bailey said the announcement came just two-and-a-half weeks after G:link celebrated five years since its first service.
"Since then more than 42 million passengers have jumped on-board the 'G' making it a star
performer of southeast Queensland's public transport system," he said.
State Government-led consultation found 86 per cent of Coast residents wanted the tram line extended from Broadbeach to Burleigh and 91 per cent supported stage 3B, down the coast from Burleigh to the airport at Coolangatta.
While 72 per cent of residents living in the light rail corridor supported the line running to Burleigh, the coastal route for Stage 3B has sparked a protest, petitions and community backlash from residents at Palm Beach on Facebook.
"Not only has Gold Coast light rail revolutionised public transport on the Coast, it's also been
a major job-creating project which is great boost for the local economy," Mr Bailey said.
"The first two stages have supported more than 1000 local jobs during construction with
around 200 operational jobs associated with the ongoing running of light rail.
"Gold Coast light rail is a Labor legacy. Stage 1 was kickstarted by funding from the Bligh
Labor Government in 2009, and the Palaszczuk Labor Government built Stage 2 in 18
months so it would be ready for the Commonwealth Games. We're now full steam ahead on Stage 3A.
"Every single LNP member on the Gold Coast should be imploring Scott Morrison to do the
right thing and fairly fund this important project to help connect the people of the Gold Coast better, create jobs and increase public transport usage."