The state opposition says the Gold Coast has been slapped in the face, following the reveal of the state budget yesterday.
While billions of dollars were committed to various Gold Coast projects, not a single cent was allocated for the Light Rail Stage 3A extension to Burleigh, with fears it’ll now be seriously delayed.
State Transport Minister Mark Bailey says until they can get a fair share of funding from the federal government, there’s no point putting money forward for the project.
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“There’s been talks very recently, and we’ll continue to raise it with them.
“But it isn’t good enough that the federal LNP have ripped off the Gold Coast,” Minister Bailey told myGC.
The Light Rail has exceeded popularity expectations, further fuelling the confusion as to why the state stumped us on funding.
Department of Transport and Main Roads figures reveal an extra 700,000 trips were taken in the 2018-19 financial year than expected, with the trend not predicted to slow down.
Minister Bailey doesn’t argue that the Burleigh extension is vital, assuring that once the federal government puts forward their fair share (another $157 million), the Palaszczuk Government will have funds ready to go.
“We’ve made it clear that if we get a fair funding deal then the state government will put in money, so that can change in between budgets,” Minister Bailey said.
Though the state LNP leader, Deb Frecklington, says to not have a red cent on the table for the Light Rail is a ‘slap in the face’ for Gold Coasters.
“It’s been the LNP that’s been trumpeting this project, it is so disappointing to see that we have had the opportunity – with the debt bomb of now nearly $90 billion – it would have been good to see Jackie Trad prioritise it in this budget.
“Gold Coasters shouldn’t have to wait until the next state election before there’s a further commitment in relation to the Gold Coast light rail,” Ms Frecklington told myGC, ahead of her budget reply tomorrow.
Federal Member for McPherson, Karen Andrews, says there’s just no way the federal government can negotiate with the state if they don’t have any money on the table.
“When you’re wanting to buy a property, if you’re wanting to buy a house, you don’t come to the table and want to negotiate and you’re starting point is ‘I’ve got zero dollars on the table’.
“This is very disingenuous of the state Labor government.
“They need to start taking gold coasters a little bit more seriously,” Minister Andrews said.
For a full break down of the state budget for the Gold Coast, click here.