Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Gold Coast G:link Extension - Last Chance Saloon

End of the track for funding?
The Gold Coast Commonwealth Games will be held in 2018, just three years away. Unfortunately, there is a big missing link in the Gold Coast's public transport system.  The Gold Coast Light Rail system (known as the G:Link) currently runs from Broadbeach to Gold Coast University Hospital. It unfortunately does not link up with the train line to Brisbane at Helensvale - the lack of this connection was a big mistake in the original design and funding of this system. This link is essential for visitors from Brisbane to access the event areas in Southport easily and quickly by public transport. This link would also be a lasting legacy for improved access from Brisbane and Logan areas to the Gold Coasts beaches, which would be a boon for tourism, locals, and businesses.

Unfortunately, successive state governments (both LNP and ALP) have failed to fund this essential extension. Tony Abbott's "stuck in the 1960s" federal government are also refusing to fund the extension (probably due to the fact that trams don't run on oil or coal). There is now very little time left for work to start so that the G:Link extension can be open before the Commonwealth Games. With no funding in the 2015 state budget, things are looking very grim with only a few months for funding to be found.

If the G:link extension to Helensvale is not completed before the Commonwealth Games, then the impact will be:

  • Poor access by public transport to/from Gold Coast's beach precincts during the games - increasing reliability on buses, and private car (hear Tony Abbott rejoicing for the latter). 
  • No public transport legacy from the Commonwealth Games, for probably the first time in it's history! 
  • Continuing perception from the rest of the world that Queensland, and Australia are backwards. 
  • Continuing poor access from Brisbane and Logan to Gold Coast beach precincts for tourists and locals. 
Only in Queensland is there such incompetence when it comes to public transport planning. 

PS: The failure to extend the heavy rail from Varsity Lakes to Gold Coast airport, and failure to add track amplifications along the Beenleigh Line corridor to allow for a high frequency bi-directional train service to/from the Gold Coast before the Commonwealth Games are both embarrassing for Queensland and Australia. 

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