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GOLD Coast MPs and city council candidates have been challenged to attend a citizens' forum tonight to explain why the light rail project should be allowed to continue.
Citizens' alliance Surfers Paradise Against Trams and Gold Coast Residents and Ratepayers Association spokesman Gordon Douglas said ratepayers should seriously question the light rail project's long-term economic impact.
"The Gold Coast can't afford the unnecessary luxury of an economically unsustainable light rail system,'' Mr Douglas said.
"The recently released Queensland Treasury Corporation Gold Coast City Council credit review revealed council is on track for a debt explosion to reach $1 billion within five years.
"That is unsustainable.''
Mr Douglas said with rates rising 8 per cent annually on top of increased living costs, it was time to look at axing projects to bring the city's budget back into surplus.
"Older Gold Coast residents can no longer afford to stay in homes they bought decades ago because they can't afford to pay their rates and other increasing charges and we can't let that situation get any worse.''
Mr Douglas said the light rail project would only further exacerbate the city's debt crisis.
"The light rail along with other ``zombie'' projects must be urgently reviewed,'' he said.
"We have delivered submissions to the Premier, the Treasurer, the Minister for Transport and local Members of Parliament urging them to conduct a review and a thorough cost benefit analysis before any more public money is invested in what could turn out to be just another unaffordable white elephant.''
"We also challenge Gold Coast MPs and council candidates to a public meeting tonight at the Gold Coast Arts Centre to explain to the community why the light rail project should proceed and whether they support saddling their constituents with further unsustainable debt.''
The public forum on the future of the light rail will be held at 6pm tonight at the Gold Coast Arts Centre.
This article first appeared on www.goldcoast.com.au
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