QLD_GCB_NEWS_TRAMCASESTUDY_14JUL19_MORTIMER
QLD_GCB_NEWS_TRAMCASESTUDY_14JUL19_MORTIMER

‘Outrageous’ 25 year delay to Burleigh trams

TRAMS to Burleigh Heads are set to be delayed until 2044, with the State Government being accused of dumping the project "on the backburner".

An update of the State's infrastructure plan published yesterday reveals light rail stage 3A is now listed as being in the "region shaping priorities pipeline", projects which "have a 25-year planning horizon".

TRAM'S INCREDIBLE PATRONAGE FIGURES RELEASED

Pictured in Southport using the Gold Coast tram system, Pic Mike Batterham
Pictured in Southport using the Gold Coast tram system, Pic Mike Batterham

CHAMBER WANTS MORRISON GOVERNMENT IN DRIVING SEAT FOR TRAMS

Construction was meant to begin on the 6.6km, $709m rail extension later this year but it was derailed after a funding dispute between the federal and state governments.

Supporters of the project have accused the state of dumping the project.

Bonney's Opposition MP Sam O'Conner told the Bulletin: "After not a cent of funding in Labor's budget, light rail to Burleigh is now listed under the '25-year horizon' in their own State Infrastructure Plan.

BAILEY: WHY STAGE 3 IS A MUST-HAVE

Sam O'Connor.
Sam O'Connor.

"Labor have put light rail on the backburner. Two other levels of government have put money on the table but all we get are excuses.

"The Gold Coast needs light rail rolled out to manage our growth and Labor need to get on with it."

The light rail is not among the projects listed as proceeding between 2019 and 2023.

The upgrade of the M1 on the southern Gold Coast are among those listed across forward estimates.

A shocked Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate last night demanded the State Government re-prioritise the must-have transport project.

Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate Picture Glenn Hampson
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate Picture Glenn Hampson

"I'm shocked and surprised it's not listed on the 1-4 year program. It will be my first topic of conversation with the Premier when I next meet with her," he told the Gold Coast Bulletin.

"Council has allocated $92 million and the Federal Government last year allocated $112 million. That's more than $200 million so the State Government needs to get on board.

"I am calling on the State Government to reprioritise this crucial traffic decongestion project. At this point I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt, it must just be a mistake."

Improved public transport connectivity between Broadbeach and Burleigh Heads, including the light rail, is mentioned in the strategic plan as a "near-term" project which means it being targeted for construction within five years.

Minster Mark Bailey. (AAP Image/Jono Searle)
Minster Mark Bailey. (AAP Image/Jono Searle)

LIGHT RAIL A 'NEED' NOT A LUXURY

But Transport Minister Mark Bailey hit back and insisted the State Government had a "strong record of building light rail".

"We are as committed as we have ever been to extending it," he said.

"What needs to happen to get construction on Light Rail Stage 3A started is a fair funding offer to Queensland from Deb Frecklington's LNP colleagues in Canberra. Sixteen per cent is the lowest ever offer for a light rail stage from Canberra and Deb Frecklington needs to show some courage and stand up to her own federal LNP party colleagues to stop short changing the Gold Coast given it is Australia's sixth largest city

Pictured in Southport using the Gold Coast tram system, Pic Mike Batterham
Pictured in Southport using the Gold Coast tram system, Pic Mike Batterham

"I've raised this matter with the Deputy Prime Minister and federal Transport Minister personally that it's time the Gold Coast started getting its fair share of federal infrastructure funding so we can create jobs and manage strong population growth."

The strategic plan notes that the $20 million business case has been completed on the rail and that delivery of the trams was "dependent on appropriate funding commitments" from the Morrison Government and council.

The tram extension was a stunning omission from last month's State Budget.

A business case has been completed for the link from Broadbeach to Burleigh Heads. However, the federal and state governments cannot agree on a funding split.

Queensland opposition leader Deb Frecklington. (AAP Image/Jono Searle)
Queensland opposition leader Deb Frecklington. (AAP Image/Jono Searle)

The Morrison Government last year committed $112 million to the extension, about 16 per cent of the $709 million total cost. State Government and Gold Coast City Council argue it is not enough.

State Government wants the Federal Government to tip in an extra $157 million to meet its percentage commitment for Stage 1.

Cr Tate has called for a compromise of an extra $45 million:

Opposition leader Deb Frecklington slammed the delays.

"While Labor's pet Cross River Rail project has seen costs blow out by more than $1.3 billion, there's not a cent on the table to build Light Rail Stage 3A and the Second M1," she said.

"Putting the light rail project 'on the horizon' shows Labor is failing to plan for the future."



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