Gold Coast Development: Light rail, Trains and Green Bridges Eyed for $9 Billion Funding War Chest

Gold Coast Development: Light rail, Trains and Green Bridges Eyed for $9 Billion Funding War Chest

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  • Post published:May 23, 2021
  • Post category:News

Article originally published on Gold Coast Bulletin

City leaders want both sides of federal politics to “show the Gold Coast the money” when a $9 billion war chest is split up to decide the country’s next prime minister.

Bulletin readers, though, say the wishlist is simple.

When asked in a poll which projects they would most like, readers voted for “Complete heavy rail link from Varsity Lakes to airport” (34 per cent) and “Widening the M1 to ensure the Coomera Connector is six lanes” (31 per cent).

The only other option to hit double digits was “Early financial commitment to stage 4 of light rail” (20 per cent).

WHAT CITY LEADERS WANT

Light and heavy rail extensions to the airport, giant green bridges between Surfers Paradise and Chevron Island as part of the Home of the Arts (HOTA) precinct expansion, a boutique stadium and extra money for tourism are just some of the projects needing love, business and civic leaders say.

A green bridge planned for Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast.

A green bridge planned for Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast.

Mayor Tom Tate said he would go on the offensive once southeast Queensland was confirmed as the host of the 2032 Olympic Games. A decision on who wins the rights to the Games is expected on July 23.

“Just like that famous clip in the hit movie Jerry Maguire, I’ll be saying to federal Treasurer Josh Fydenberg: ‘show me the money’ when it comes to preparing our city for the 2032 Olympics,” he said.

Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate. Picture: Jerad Williams
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate. Picture: Jerad Williams

“Post-July, I’ll be straight on the advocacy trail seeking serious investment in our city and this will be a once-in-a-lifetime chance for our local MPs to step in and join ‘team Gold Coast’ as we fight for more of the federal pie.

“The MPs, and our two local federal ministers, have a direct line with the Treasurer and Prime Minister.

“This is an amazing opportunity to deliver big for our city as part of our ‘team Gold Coast’ approach so let’s forget talk about any city deals … I’ll be seeking a regional deal.”

Actor Tom Cruise in the 1996 film Jerry Maguire.
Actor Tom Cruise in the 1996 film Jerry Maguire.

A regional deal would be a partnership between the councils of southeast Queensland and both federal and state governments to back job-stimulating development projects and urban renewal.

Cr Tate said he wanted federal Labor to get on board ahead of the election.

The federal election is due to be held between October 2021 and May 2022.

Budget papers released last week revealed nearly $10 billion across forward estimates was held back from the Budget for “decisions taken but not yet announced”.

There is more than $3.8 billion set aside for the 2021-22 financial year alone, covering the election period.

With this week’s Newspoll revealing Labor still slightly ahead of the Coalition on a two-party preferred basis, both Cr Tate and business leaders said they wanted to hold an urgent bipartisan roundtable meeting with Coalition and Labor MPs to discuss the critical projects.

Artist impression of Gold Coast light rail Stage 4. Picture: Supplied
Artist impression of Gold Coast light rail Stage 4. Picture: Supplied

Gold Coast Central Chamber of Commerce president Martin Hall said it was essential for the next federal government to consider the long-term needs of the city beyond the immediate sugar hit of the Olympic Games.

“We need to get the Coomera Connector funded in its entirety as well as the boutique stadium and if people ask why, I’d say just look at the impact of the investment in Redcliffe’s new stadium,” he said.

Heavy rail to the airport is considered a priority.
Heavy rail to the airport is considered a priority.

‘The Olympics are more than just sport but having the deadline of 2032 means we have something to work towards.

“The knock-on effect will be incredible.”

Both the government and opposition said they were prepared to discuss critical projects with Cr Tate and other leaders.

Morrison government MP Angie Bell said she looked forward to discussing the projects with Cr Tate.

“We have co-operated with the Queensland government and the Mayor to deliver crucial light rail funding,” she said.

Artist impression of a proposed multi-use stadium designed by Egyptian architect Mohamed El Brombaly. It is the basis for the boutique stadium Mayor Tom Tate wants to build on the Gold Coast.
Artist impression of a proposed multi-use stadium designed by Egyptian architect Mohamed El Brombaly. It is the basis for the boutique stadium Mayor Tom Tate wants to build on the Gold Coast.

“I welcome the Mayor’s backing of the Morrison government’s infrastructure budget and I will continue to work with him and all stakeholders.”

Opposition infrastructure spokeswoman Catherine King slammed the government’s Budget “slush fund” and vowed a different approach.

“The Morrison government’s Budget isn’t a plan for Queensland’s infrastructure, it is a plan for their re-election,” she said.

New artist impression of the Coomera Connector
New artist impression of the Coomera Connector

“Instead of cutting infrastructure spending and topping up slush funds, the Morrison government should invest in the infrastructure Queensland needs, including in preparation for the Olympic Games.

“It is essential that governments at all levels get this right, building infrastructure that is not only useful for the Olympics but more importantly sets up southeast Queensland for many years to come.”