Heat

Gold Coast in for possible thunderstorm, heatwave conditions

Air conditioners and fans are expected to get a good workout over the next few days, with Gold Coasters set to swelter through scorching hot temperatures.

The mercury is tipped to soar to 35 degrees in Coomera on Monday, with a high of 36C forecast for Nerang and 33C for the rest of the city.

The heatwave is due to move through the country’s east from today, with Queensland likely to bear the brunt of the warm weather.

Peter Clarson from the Bureau of Meteorology told myGC temperatures are expected to sky rocket to 39 degrees in Beaudesert by Sunday.

“Surfers Paradise will stay a little bit cooler being near the coastline, but it will be muggy and 33 degrees, so still quite a few degrees above average around the coast as well.”

Locals are being warned the humidity is expected to make it feel even hotter.

“It’s important to point out that we’re in a very humid air mass as well, so around the coastline it does feel very humid, so it will feel a few degrees warmer than the forecast as well around the coast,” Clarson said.

Meanwhile, Gold Coasters are also being told to brace for a typical Summer thunderstorm on Friday afternoon.

“We do have a chance of some showers and thunderstorms forming this afternoon, particularly inland of the coast,” Clarson said.

“They do have the chance to be severe as well… they’re just Summer storms so they’ll be fairly isolated and forming inland this afternoon, and I guess the heat helps them to form as well”.

The weather bureau said the scorching temperatures are expected to hang around until Wednesday, when we should see some reprieve.

“There are some promising signs next week as we do see what looks like a much deeper trough approaching the south east and eventually moving through by the middle of next week, so we should see, finally, a good cool change by the middle of next week.

Gold Coast to host Supercars finale in 2021

THE Gold Coast has secured a major coup, with the city set to host the finale of the 2021 Supercars Championship.

The 2021 schedule has been released today confirming for the first time in the sport’s history, the Championship will conclude with a spectacular finale on the streets of Surfers Paradise.

It means the event will move from its usual October time slot to December 3-5.

Minister for Tourism and Minister for Sport, Stirling Hinchliffe, said Queensland motorsport fans were looking forward to a double dose of Supercars in 2021.

“The Supercars championship is a much-loved celebration in Queensland of motorsport rivalries, precision driving and excellence in automotive engineering,” Mr Hinchliffe said.

“A mid-season event in Townsville and the 2021 finale on the Gold Coast will deliver a double dose of Supercars in Queensland, set amongst some of Australia’s best motor racing back drops.

“For southern motorsport enthusiasts, the Supercars championship is without hesitation the perfect way to kick-off a Queensland getaway.”

Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate said it was a major win for the city.

“What a classic three-day carnival it will be with the Gold Coast to host the finale of the supercar season,’’ Mayor Tate said.

“Only on the Gold Coast will spectators see the final race to the championship flag. Given the pressure on teams to win the crown, it’ll be one hell of a race weekend in December.”

The 2021 series will begin at the spiritual home of Australian motor racing, Mount Panorama from 26-28 February.

Teams will make two trips to Bathurst, with the season opener in February, the Mount Panorama 500 and the Great Race, the 161-lap 1000km Repco Bathurst 1000 on the traditional dates of 7-10 October.

Racing returns to Perth, Tasmania, Victoria and New Zealand after COVID-19 restrictions forced changes to the 2020 calendar.

Supercars CEO Sean Seamer said next year’s calendar was a win for fans and viewers following the challenges COVID-19 presented in 2020.

“It is important to us to ensure the 2021 calendar features as much certainty for fans as we can provide given the current COVID-19 restrictions in each state and territory,” Seamer said.

“We’re thrilled that next year we can deliver two events at Mount Panorama, including the season opener in February.

“We are still working with all government partners on fan limits for each event, but we are confident of strong crowd numbers across Australia and New Zealand, in line with the current loosening of COVID-19 restrictions.”

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QLD BUDGET 2020: What’s in it for the Gold Coast

More than $1 billion will be spent on infrastructure projects across the Gold Coast in a bid to help the city recover from the COVID pandemic.

Roads and transport will see the bulk of the funding with millions going towards the ongoing widening of the M1 between Varsity Lakes and Tugun as well as upgrades to a number of exits.

Just $12.9 million has been set aside to plan the Coomera Connector with work not expected to start until the next financial year.

The government has allocated $50 million dollars this financial year for construction of Light Rail Stage 3A to Burleigh.

But there’s been no money set aside for planning Stage 4 to the airport, a key wish of Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate.

Schools across the Gold Coast will also receive millions of dollars with the Government following through with promises made during the election.

The government’s infrastructure spend on the Gold Coast is estimated to support around 3,500 jobs.

Read more: Sunshine state to see budget red for years

Coomera Connector 

  • $12.9 million this financial year (out of total cost of $1.531 billion) to complete a business case by mid-year.

M1

  • $10.2 million to upgrade Exit 41 at Yatala (out of total spend oft $82.1 million)
  • $5 million to upgrade Exit 49 at Pimpama (out of total spend of $110.5 million)
  • $6.7 million to upgrade Exit 57 at oxenford (out of total spend of $25 million)
  • $145 million to continue upgrade of M1 between Varsity Lakes and Tugun (total cost $1 billion)

Light Rail 

  • $50.4 million for Stage 3A to Burleigh Heads (total cost $709.9 million)

Schools 

  • $3.7 million for Ormeau Woods State High (out of total spend of $9.8 million)
  • $2.4 million for Ormeau State School (out of total spend of $6.3 million)
  • $4.1 million for Picnic Creek State School (out of total spend of$11.1 million)
  • $22.7 million for new special school in Coomera (out of total spend of$46.1 million)
  • $10 million for Pacific Pine State High School (out of total spend of $26 million)
  • $1 million for Southport Special School
  • $5 million for Nerang State High School (over three years)
  • $10 million for Miami State High School (over four years)
  • $4.8 million for Palm Beach State School (out of total spend of $10.6 million)
  • $10 million for Palm Beach Currumbin State High School (over four years)
  • $10 million for Robina TAFE
  • $18.8 million to expand six Gold Coast TAFE facilities (out of total spend of $28.7 million)

Health 

  • $2.3 million for Gold Coast University Hospital including new Mental Health Unit (out of total spend of $111.4 million)
  • $6.5 million for Robina Hospital (out of total spend of $10 million)
  • $4 million for Gold Coast Health and Knowledge Precinct (out of total spend of $33.4 million)
  • Southern Gold Coast satellite hospital
  • $920,260 for Palm Beach Community Health Centre (out of total spend of $1.4 million)

Emergency Services

  • $1.5 million for new Pimpama Police Station (out of total spend of $6.1 million)
  • $749,000 for upgrade of Southport Ambulance Station and Gold Coast Operations Centre (out of total spend of $10.2 million)

Sport and Community Groups 

  • $2 million for Currumbin Beach Vikings Surf Club
  • $253,142 for Robina Raptors Junior Rugby League Club (out of total spend of $378,700)
  • $286,858 for Tweed Coolangatta Junior AFL Club (out of total spend of $500,000)
  • $286,858 for Gold Coast Cricket Club (out of total spend of $500,000)
  • $582,046 for Good Money Store in Southport

Industry

  • $500,000 for manufacturing hub on the Gold Coast (out of total spend of $4.5 million)
  • $2.5 million for Screen Queensland for a reality TV hub (out of total spend of $5 million)

Environment 

  • $23.6 million to implement the Spit Masterplan
  • $746,000 for upgrade to visitor infrastructure in Springbrook National Park
  • $275,000 for cultural engagement in Gondwana Rainforest

Gold Coast rolls out the red carpet, as Qld borders FINALLY come down!

UPDATE @ 9.00AM | Emotional scenes at the Gold Coast Airport this morning, with the first Victorian passengers reuniting with family.

The first flight from Melbourne touched down a short time ago, welcomed by airport staff and lots of celebrations.

PHOTO | myGC

Gold Coast Airport COO Marion Charlton told myGC it’s such an exiting morning.

“Oh my god, honestly 250 days but who’s counting. Everyone’s just so happy, so relieved, I’ve seen more tears this morning, people seeing each other for the first time in such a long time.

“It’s beautiful.

“We had the water cannon outside, it’s a mix of sheer happiness and relief for our team as well. This has been a long time coming, and again the emotion, not just from our team but the people getting off that flight.

“For everyone; the Gold Coast, for Sydney and Melbourne – it’s been a long time,” Ms Charlton said.

The first flight from Sydney will touch down at 9.30am.

EARLIER @ 8.30AM | The first flight from Melbourne to the Gold Coast has just touched down at the airport, ready to be welcomed by emotional families and excited airport staff.

The Jetstar flight passed over Currumbin a short time ago, while 1029 Hot Tomato’s Galey, Emily Jade and Christo broadcast live on the foreshore.

There were cheers all round as the watched the plane arrive!

PHOTO | 1029 Hot Tomato

The Gold Coast Airport has put on a show for the arriving flights, with skydivers shooting down a short time ago, flying the Aussie flag and ‘welcome back’ messages.

Airport CEO Chris Mills told Nine it’s such an exciting morning.

To be able to say we are open says it all.

“It’s been a tough year, we have been 95% to 99% down where we were last year. 

“The month of December will be really exciting for us. Great to have the sorts of activities and welcome everyone back to Queensland,” Mr Mills said.

Meanwhile, Queensland Police are celebrating at the road borders with party cake! Thanking the SES and officers for their work over the past eight months.

EARLIER @6.15AM | The Gold Coast is rolling out the red carpet, to finally welcome back Sydneysiders and Victorians into the Sunshine State today.

Official borders came down at 1.00am overnight, with police waving motorists through checkpoints after a long eight months of rigorous border pass checks.

Drivers clapped and wooed as they cruised on through, finally allowed back in Queensland with ease.

“It’s wonderful news- Red Carpet Day, really, for the Gold Coast.

“We’re coming back! For Australians can come back to their second home, which is the Gold Coast,” the Mayor said.

The Police Minister Mark Ryan is at the road border checkpoints this morning, telling the ABC he’s very excited that the successful police operation has now come to an end.

This has happened only once, a hundred years ago. So, we are seeing history with the border control point being removed, and Queensland being opened up to Greater Sydney and Victoria.

“And credit to everyone in Australia for the hard work that they’ve done. We’re able to recover faster than other parts of the world because of the hard work of Queenslanders, but also Australians, in getting over COVID-19 and ensuring we continue to remain vigilant about containing it,” Minister Ryan said.

But he’s warned that if the borders have to go back up, police stand ready to be able to do it very quickly.

We can re-establish these border control points within 24 hours if we need to. But, look, let’s hope we don’t have to see these things again for at least another hundred years. 

“Look, this has been a very important measure in containing COVID-19. It has saved lives, and there’s nothing more important than that – saving lives,” Minister Ryan said.

The excitement is back at our airport this morning as well, with many airline staff now back in a job.

Senior Pilot Captain Guy Proctor from Jetstar, is now flying the first plane from the Gold Coast to Sydney, and told Nine it’s great to be back at work.

“It’s wonderful to be back, see so many of our Gold Coast based crew and staff.

“And we’re really looking forward to taking a whole plane load full of people to Sydney to see their friends at family,” Captain Proctor said.

The first flight from Melbourne arrives at 8.25am, while the first from Sydney arrives at 9.35am.

Back to the road borders which are still bumper to bumper this morning, as traffic delays continue to build.

While the checkpoints aren’t operational anymore, the concrete barriers are still in place, due to come down tonight.

It’s causing holdups for morning commuters, with the M1 limited to one lane through the Tugun stretch.

Delays were about 3 kilometres back at 6.15am.

Gold Coast Council calls off NYE fireworks due to Covid

The Gold Coast Mayor has confirmed this morning that there will be no fireworks celebration on New Years Eve.

There was speculation that the Gold Coast fireworks display wouldn’t go ahead, after Brisbane called off their NYE show as well.

Sydney’s fireworks show will still go ahead, but only at midnight and a limited display. While the NSW Premier is still urging people not to gather in the city for the show.

Mayor Tom Tate has confirmed the COVID-19 crisis means the event can no longer go ahead.

“We do not want to jeopardise 2021 in any way,” Mayor Tate said.

“The borders will  reopen to all of New South Wales and Victoria tomorrow and we will welcome hundreds of thousands of holiday makers from across Australia.

“I don’t want to risk anyone’s health simply for the annual fireworks. I trust people will understand and still celebrate the end of what has been a testing year for us all – and look forward to fresh beginnings in 2021.’’

Up to 90,000 people watched the fireworks in Surfers Paradise alone last year, a number too large to be properly managed under the COVID restrictions.

The Mayor said Council will repurpose the funds usually spent on the fireworks to hold a celebration post-Covid, possibly later in 2021.

“There will be a time to celebrate, hopefully in the not too distant future and we will be sure to put on a fireworks display then which will also bring visitors from far and wide.”

“Major Events Gold Coast and the City will ensure the festive lighting and activations across the coast are in place so people can get those selfie-images but we need to abide by social distancing rules that still exist given Covid,’’ he said.