The government is proposing to pay $200 million to build the rail line from Brisbane to the Gold Coast, but it will also have to cover $50 million of that, to cover a shortfall of $40 million, which will be funded by an additional $100 million from the Government’s Regional Transport Infrastructure Fund.
It is unclear what the additional $200m will cover, with the Coalition claiming the funding would be “a very significant amount”.
“This will allow us to build a regional rail network that will provide access to the regions for people who need it,” Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian said.
“We are looking at funding a new regional rail service to connect the Goldfields to the regional heartland, where it will be a more reliable, convenient and direct route for people from the Goldfield to the CBD.”
The proposed rail link would see trains run from Brisbane’s Central Station to the Port of Newcastle.
A spokeswoman for Ms Berejklaian said the funding was part of a wider infrastructure package to address the economic downturn.
“We’re very proud of the work that we’ve done with the Gold Infrastructure Fund, which has been a very positive success story in the region,” she said.
She said the Government was also committed to supporting regional communities and to investing in infrastructure to support economic growth in the regions.
“The Gold Infrastructure fund has supported the Government in ensuring that regional development is supported,” she added.
But Mr Worsley said he did not think the money would be enough.
The Gold Coast is the most populous region in the state and is home to around 1.4 million people, with most living in the Gold Country.
‘Truly awful’ Labor Party leader Bill Shorten has criticised the funding proposal, with his office saying he was disappointed with the Government over its initial reaction to the funding.
Ms Berej Klaian, in her speech to the National Press Club, said the Federal Government had given up its promise of regional infrastructure, arguing it had been forced to abandon its promise in the face of mounting public dissatisfaction with the government’s approach to infrastructure.
Instead, the Government will have to go back to its “past and present” and come up with a new funding strategy, she said, arguing there was no longer a plan for regional infrastructure.