Topics: Light Rail stage 3A
Nicole Dyer: Minister Good morning.
Karen Andrews: Good morning, how are you?
Nicole Dyer: Can you tell me what happened at that business meeting that led to these comments by you?
Karen Andrews: Yes, but if you don’t mind I'd like to come back to that because I have obviously listened to the interview with Pauline Young. Now, I raised the issue of changing the terminating point for light rail stage 3A with her last year. I've also written to the Mayor. I wrote to the Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in November of last year and I asked them to consider a number of factors and I specifically raised moving the stop to outside Burleigh State School. I raised the issue of consultation with the community and if I just, at this stage I'll just keep my comments to the State Government because they actually have the responsibility for delivering this project. So I wrote to Anastasia Palaszczuk.
Nicole Dyer: Hang on, just to be clear there, yes the State Government play a big role in this, but there is a Federal Government funding pledge that needs to happen for this to be fully realised and this project to go get off the ground. You can’t completely let the Federal Government off the hook.
Karen Andrews: I’m not asking for the Federal Government to be left off the hook. I was involved in the $112m funding announcement. So we're not, but, and we do have a commitment that is there for $112m and it's there without a cent being put on the table from the State Government.
But my point is that it is actually untrue to say that people were not aware of this and it's an 11th hour because I raised it last year with the other parties who are concerned in this. Now I didn't
hear back from the State Government until April of this year. Now, they have said that you know, basically they're looking at the 6.7 kilometre corridor through Burleigh Heads. They didn't respond at all to the proposal to move the terminating point to out the front of Burleigh Heads State School, but now the indicative costings that I'm reading in the media are this is over $700m to 6.7 kilometres of Light Rail. Now at the breakfast meeting yesterday, there were discussions about transport infrastructure and of course the Gold Coast is a very different city to everywhere else in Australia because it's a linear city. So you have large distances that you need to cover. My comments were along the lines of, we have committed a $112m, if there is insufficient funding from the State Government to be able to continue with this project then they may need to have
a look at re scoping it.
Nicole Dyer: Ok, now just to put into context, what you said yesterday – the number one point you want to make is that this is not something you have not said before and all parties are aware of that, and that also, you want to re-scope, you’re just saying that has to be an option if the State Government isn’t forthcoming with the money that is required. I’ve been there as you have too over many, many years over stage 1 and stage 2, and there is always argy bargy, but always in the end all levels of government come to the party and we do get this. Do you think though that you are being a little premature in saying that we need to consider shortening the line given what you
just said about how important it is to have this type of transport available on the Gold Coast?
Karen Andrews: Ok, so I used to chair the Public Works Committee, which is a Federal Government legislated committee that actually looks at a range of projects, capital projects, capital works infrastructure around the country. We actually considered one proposal that came through and it was priced at over $90m. I actually said to the proponents, this is actually not at just at the fit for purpose. This is on a grand scale. You actually need to go back and re-scope that project, now, I had the support of the entire committee. So it was bipartisan, Labor supported me
on this as well, to go back and re scope that project simply because what they were putting up was at an enormous cost. Now, it was re scoped and it came back $42m cheaper. So what I'm saying to the State Government is if you don't have sufficient funds to make this work, you need to go back and do a few more calculations and work out how you're going to deliver these projects so it's value for money. I mean the average person is going to look at over $100m for a
kilometre of light rail and go, wow, what are you actually doing to bring this cost down? Now, I would actually be derelict in my duty if I wasn't asking those questions.
Nicole Dyer: All right. I'm going to leave it there but Karen Andrews, I do appreciate your time.
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Office of the Hon Karen Andrews MP, Member for McPherson, Varsity Lakes, QLD