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Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced more than $14 million would be committed to accelerating existing transport infrastructure projects in Queensland, including - in a surprise move – $4.2 million for a business case on the forecast fast rail between Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
The business case, announced in March 2019 before that year’s election, will also look at the need for extending the existing rail line – or a new fast rail track – from Varsity Lakes to Gold Coast Airport.
Gold Coast-based Human Services Minister Stuart Robert said bringing the project forward would boost the city’s economy post-COVID-19.
“I am delighted the Morrison Government is investing in our post-COVID future by delivering $4.2 million for the Brisbane-Gold Coast Faster Rail business case,” he said.
“Just like we are building the Coomera Connector, a potential Brisbane-Gold Coast fast rail link will help drive our economic recovery through better connectivity between Queensland’s two biggest cities.”
The existing train connection between the two cities takes 74 minutes at an average speed of 69km/h, but the fast rail being envisaged would race along at a striking 160km/h more than halving the trip to 32 minutes.
The study will look at how many people would be projected to use the train line to travel north and south. Mayor Tom Tate welcomed the funding and said it was critical to solving congestion and population issues facing the Gold Coast.
“South East Queensland is one of the highest growth areas in Australia and our population makes up about one in seven voters,” he said.
“Connecting our transport is key to keeping Queensland moving and important for the economic recovery of our state and nation.
“I have been saying for some time fast rail is key to completing the full transport picture for our city. Being able to get to Brisbane from the Gold Coast in (under) 45 minutes is a game changer for those who want to balance their career with our amazing lifestyle.
“Bringing this project forward as well as delivering on Coomera Connector in this budget makes sense and is the right outcome.”
Gold Coast Central Chamber of Commerce president Martin Hall praised the move saying it would put the city “back on the frontier of innovation.”
The rail funding came on top of pre-announced $750 million for the Coomera Connector’s 16.6km first stage, matching $755m in state funds.
Construction of the $2.4 billion road will begin in mid-2021.
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