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A SENIOR LNP frontbencher has been advocating a radical new route for the multibillion-dollar Gold Coast light rail that would take the line past a brewery he co-owns.
But Member for Burleigh Michael Hart strongly denies his preferred route has anything to do with benefiting the business.
Mr Hart has clashed with the State Government and the local council over their preferred coastal route, and demanded the project be rerouted westward to Varsity Lakes.
An investigation by The Courier-Mail has revealed Mr Hart’s more costly proposal would take the light rail along Burleigh Connection Rd and pass near Burleigh Brewing Company.
Mr Hart’s self-managed superannuation fund has a significant stake in Daisy Holding Company, the owner of the craft brewer which churns out popular tipples including Fig Jam and My Wife’s Bitter.
Member for Burleigh Michael Hart is advocating a route further west than the current planned coastal route, which would take the light rail past a brewery he co-owns.The brewery, which is located on Ern Harley Drive, is pitching itself as an ideal venue for casual drinks, functions and events and has introduced an outdoor cinema.
Mr Hart yesterday confirmed he had a significant stake in the brewery which is listed on his Register of Members’ Interests in State Parliament.
“I own a significant part of it. I was one of the original investors,” he said.
However, Mr Hart staunchly rejected any suggestion that his alternate light rail route had anything to do with the brewery, saying the potential for benefit had never occurred to him.
“The brewery is out of the way in an industrial park,” he said. “It doesn’t really go anywhere near it. This is something that I have been talking about for eight years.”
The G:Link runs from Helensvale to Broadbeach, with the next stage to Burleigh Heads currently the subject of a detailed business case.
The route suggested by Member for Burleigh Michael HartThe next stage advocated by the council and the State Government would see the project continue to snake south along the coastline through Palm Beach and eventually reach the Gold Coast Airport.
However, Mr Hart has argued in Parliament and publicly that the coastal route would cause massive resumptions and cost vital car parking and has branded the council’s consultation process a sham.
“It would just decimate the highway down there. It would take away all the parking,” he said.
The third-term MP wants the route to turn directly west after reaching Burleigh, link with Varsity Lakes train station and continue as a light rail line along a preserved heavy rail corridor to the airport.
“Are we building a mass transit system with a good view or do we actually want to carry people to where they want to go?” he said.
The Burleigh Brewing Co is a Gold Coast tourist attraction. Mr Hart has a significant stake in the craft brewer.
This article first appeared on www.couriermail.com.au
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