LIGHT RAIL EXTENSION ON CARDS, BUT 'WE WON'T BE BULLIED'

Written on the 25 September 2015 by Jenna Rathbone

LIGHT RAIL EXTENSION ON CARDS, BUT 'WE WON'T BE BULLIED'

FEDERAL MP Steven Ciobo has opened the door for federal funding of the next stage of the Gold Coast light rail, but he says the new Turnbull Government won't be rushed into making a decision.

His comments follow the Queensland Labor Government's demand this week for a commitment within seven days.

Speaking at a Gold Coast Central Chamber of Commerce event, the newly appointed Minister for International Development and the Pacific, says the federal government will not be bullied into investing taxpayer's money into a project without proper consultation and research.

"The state government has given us a seven day deadline, but we have indicated that that is a bit ridiculous," says Ciobo.

"It is a half-a-billion dollar project and, although the state government has a bit of a theme around just racing out and doing things, we won't do it without going through the appropriate process of doting our I's and crossing our T's.

"From a federal government perspective, if we are going to invest $150-$230 million of taxpayer's money into a project, we are not going to let it be another, for example, desalination plant or, from a federal level, the same kind of policies we saw with the pink batts scheme.

"That is why we are being so prudent."

Ciobo also indicates that, with Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister, the second stage of the light rail is more likely to come to fruition. 

"We saw in Queensland, at a state level, the consequences of what took place when we didn't listen to what people were saying to us. We needed to listen to the message that was being sent to us by 30 different Newspolls about the need to change leadership," he says.

"Historically, under Tony Abbott, the view was that the federal government would not provide funding for urban public transport, it wouldn't provide funding for roads and not for things like the light rail.

"Malcolm Turnbull's ascension now as Prime Minister has brought change to that policy."


Author: Jenna Rathbone
About: Jenna Rathbone is a Queensland-based journalist who writes on a range of issues including business and property affairs and social issues.
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