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Palaszczuk Government's Record on Gold Coast Roads and Transport

August 11, 2020

Ms SCANLON (Gaven—ALP) (2.50 pm): I nearly fell off my chair earlier listening to the member for Nanango's rewriting of history on the Gold Coast. She clearly thinks that we have short memories. I remind the Leader of the Opposition of an article published in the Gold Coast Bulletin in fact at the last election with the title 'John-Paul Langbroek on why the LNP in government could have done more for the Gold Coast', and by 'more' he clearly meant something because, despite holding every seat on the Gold Coast, those opposite took our community for granted and did not just fail to deliver for the community; they cut funding for roads and transport and sacked staff at our Gold Coast hospitals. I assure those opposite that the people in my community still very much remember.

In stark contrast, I am very proud to be a part of a Labor government that is delivering critical transport and road upgrades for the Gold Coast as part of our economic plan to build infrastructure that creates jobs during this global pandemic. It was a Labor government that kick-started stage 1 of the light rail. Under this Palaszczuk government, we built stage 2 in eight months flat for the Commonwealth Games and we are building stage 3 right now which will provide over 760 jobs and expand the network to Burleigh, but we are going even further.

Last week I joined the Premier and minister to announce funding to start a business case for stage 4 of the light rail that will go all the way down to Coolangatta via the Gold Coast Airport, a key economic driver within our community. This is a project for which I have advocated for a long time because it will revolutionise travel along that linear coastal strip while preserving the heavy rail corridor for a potential future expansion. Having grown up in Nerang though, I am particularly excited about the east-west bus and light rail connection which will be explored through a multimodal study that will prioritise rapid transit along the Broadbeach to Robina and Broadbeach to Nerang corridors. I have lived on the Gold Coast my entire life and connections with the airport and better services for families in the western part of our city have been a discussion for a long time, so I am really pleased to see the Palaszczuk government has supported the next critical steps needed to push these major transport projects forward, making it easier for members of my community to get to the beach or enjoy our famous night-life without having to get in their cars.

This builds on a number of other projects that we are delivering. When I was first elected I made it crystal clear that one of my major priorities would be to get the M1 upgrades happening 'as soon as they possibly can' after the LNP did not spend a single new dollar when last in government, setting us back years. I table that article from the Gold Coast Bulletin published in December 2017.

Tabled paper: Article from the Gold Coast Bulletin, dated 7 December 2017, titled ‘Scanlon: Labor are ‘crystal clear’ on M1.

Since then we have started and finished the Mudgeeraba to Varsity Lakes section and we have commenced work on the larger section from Varsity Lakes all the way to Tugun. We have gazetted the Coomera Connector corridor—again stopped by the LNP from progressing—and started the business case with the federal government to get this project moving. We have also spent over $160 million upgrading Southport-Burleigh Road, Ross Street, Olsen Avenue, Nerang-Broadbeach Road and the new Gooding Drive roundabout and creating a shared pathway connecting Nerang station to Metricon Stadium.

Right now exit 57 is getting an upgrade. Exit 41 in Yatala will start later this year and a business case is underway on exit 49 in Pimpama. Our Cross River Rail project will unlock the bottleneck of our rail network, allowing more trains to run more often from the Gold Coast, as well as the construction of three new train stations at Pimpama, Helensvale North and Merrimac which will provide greater options in those growth corridors while taking pressure off our existing park-and-ride facilities and creating jobs through the construction phase. Our government has a plan and a pipeline of projects that continue to support and create jobs. According to data from the Queensland Government Statistician's Office, in the last 10 years to June 2019 the Gold Coast grew the most of any other region in Queensland by an average of 12,700 persons per year. When we consider these numbers, it is disappointing to think of the time that we lost under the Newman LNP government, which did not spend a single new dollar on the M1 and stopped the Coomera Connector from progressing.

Even now we have the member for Mermaid Beach describing the light rail as an infliction and the member for Burleigh advocating for a bizarre new route which would do a dogleg away from the coast line and conveniently right past a brewery which he co-owns. When further asked on radio about the broader ramifications this would have on the train line, he said, 'Forget about the heavy rail to the airport,' making it very clear that the LNP opposes a future heavy rail extension. The LNP cannot be trusted to deal with the health response of this pandemic and it cannot be trusted to deliver infrastructure in the interests of working Gold Coasters. This Palaszczuk government has the runs on the board when it comes to delivering road, rail and public transport upgrades for the Gold Coast and we have a plan to keep moving forward.