6 November 2014, Written by Jenna Rathbone


THE Gold Coast business community is closing in on the 10,000 signatures needed for the State Government petition calling for trams to be linked to the heavy rail in time for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Member for Southport Rob Molhoek says 9,336 signatures have been recorded and he is expecting more than 20,000 locals will sign their name in support before Christmas.

“It’s close to that 10,000 mark and I think it will continue to increase,” says Molhoek.

“I think it is a worthwhile project, I have been fighting for it since 2006 and I will continue fighting for it because I think it is important we finish the job that Labor started.

“It was always supposed to go to the heavy rail but they (Labor) procrastinated about it for so long that by the time they actually made a decision to do something, all of the land acquisition costs and the corridor costs had blown out and they only had enough money to produce stage one.”

Molhoek says the petition is just one part of the puzzle and the Gold Coast community needs to continue to rally together and voice their support for the extension of the G:link.

“The signatures are among probably a dozen things that I think we need to be doing to make sure the government is under no misapprehension about the enthusiasm for the project,” says Molhoek.

“We just need people to use what is there and demonstrate in a practical way that they want a light rail and that they are going to use it because it is the patronage that will really be the strong argument for the next stage.”

The light rail advisory group in consultation with chambers of commerce and business groups are part of the reason behind the progress of the petition and have distributed the campaign to a network totalling hundreds of thousands.

Southport Chamber of Commerce president Laird Marshall says 10,000 signatures is a great effort.

However, the community needs to continue fighting and putting pressure on the government to ensure the extension is a priority.

“It is pretty hard to get people to fill out a petition at the best of times so I think we are going pretty well,” says Marshall.

“But we really want to make the most of it and make sure people understand that if we don’t get the light rail extension committed by this current state government then it is not going to get built in time for the Commonwealth Games and we are going to look more than silly.”

The Gold Coast Central Chamber of Commerce has also backed the petition with president Peter Yared saying the connection of the light rail to heavy rail is essential for the future economic growth and development of the city.

“The success of stage one of the light rail supporting a major event such as the V8 Supercars recently shows the importance of delivering the stage two extension in time for the Commonwealth Games, to both support the event, and remain as a legacy of the games itself,” says Yared.

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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