Queensland is gearing up for a job boost with the construction of stage 3A of the $709 million Gold Coast Light Rail extension from Broadbeach to Burleigh.
Fences have gone up near the light rail stops at Broadbeach to create a construction compound for the project.
Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, said the state government would continue delivering major projects and supporting jobs during its response to COVID-19.
“We’re supporting jobs where we can and we’re continuing our track record of delivering infrastructure for the Gold Coast community,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“Light rail on the Gold Coast is an important local employer, supporting about 800 operational jobs with this next stage to Burleigh expected to support more than 760 jobs.
“This next stage is vital to not only creating more jobs, but also connecting the southern Gold Coast to the rest of the line and getting more people onto public transport into the future.”
Federal Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure, Alan Tudge, said Stage 3A would be a game changer for jobs and infrastructure on the Gold Coast.
“More than 700 jobs will be supported during construction and hundreds more local jobs will be created once this next stage is up and running,” Mr Tudge said.
“By extending the existing light rail system from Broadbeach South Station to Burleigh Heads, it also means cars coming off the road along the southern Gold Coast.”
Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister, Mark Bailey, said Gold Coast residents could look forward to continued investment in world-class transport from the state government.
“We made a commitment to keep light rail moving on the Gold Coast and that’s what we’re doing,” Mr Bailey said.
“We’re also continuing on with two major Gold Coast M1 upgrades between Mudgeeraba and Tugun, which are providing an important pipeline of local jobs too.”
Federal Member for McPherson, Karen Andrews, said progressing work for the light rail extension as well as the M1 upgrade was vital for boosting the workforce on the Gold Coast.
“Many sectors on the Gold Coast have been heavily impacted by the coronavirus, so it’s great timing to get this infrastructure built and create much-needed jobs,” Ms Andrews said.
“When we begin to recover, work will be well-underway on this congestion-busting infrastructure – making our city more connected and an even better place to live.”
Member for Gaven, Meaghan Scanlon, said TMR was preparing the Broadbeach site in preparation for it to be used as a construction compound by the successful contractor.
“We know light rail has been a winner for the Gold Coast, that’s why earlier this month we saw it chalk up 50 million passenger trips since services began in 2014,” Ms Scanlon said.
”By getting started now, we’re paving the way for major works to start on the next stage as soon as possible once the construction contract is awarded.
”We appreciate this is a difficult time for our community but want to reassure people that TMR workers and all contractors engaged in light rail early works are required to provide a COVID-19 plan.
”The construction industry plays an essential role in keeping the state’s economy powering so we can’t lose momentum delivering our record investment in major infrastructure for Queensland.
“The plans outline social distancing and other protective measures covering workers, as well as safeguards for the community during these challenging times.”
Federal Member for Moncrieff, Angie Bell, said improving the city’s accessibility would improve access to jobs and services within the Gold Coast.
“With the ability to travel between Broadbeach South Station and Burleigh Heads in 16-17 minutes, alongside improved pedestrian and cycling facilities, this will make getting around the Gold Coast easier for everybody, especially for those who don’t drive,” Ms Bell said.
The community could also expect work to begin on the demolition of the Caltex service station on the Gold Coast Highway at Burleigh Heads in mid-2020.
Other early light rail works were already occurring along the Gold Coast Highway, including borehole testing and site investigations, which were being done at night when traffic volumes are lowest.
GoldlinQ continues to manage the tender process for a construction partner, with an announcement of a successful bidder expected towards the end of 2020.