Thursday, 1 December 2016
It is a wonderful time of year, the end of the year: a time to reflect on how things have gone in our respective communities, and on the Gold Coast, I think, we can look back with considerable pride. The Commonwealth Games looms larger than life, of course, in 2018 and there is no better opportunity for the Gold Coast to showcase what we have got to the world. It is wonderful to see the affordable ticket pricing that was announced a few days ago, and I know locals will turn up in droves to support the competition.
This government has provided $147 million to these games, which I think is tremendous. The real value, of course, of this investment is the local infrastructure that we have been able to provide through this federal funding, like the Coomera Indoor Sports Centre and the Gold Coast Hockey Centre. It is important to have a central hub for the games, but we need new infrastructure like this in our communities and it has been great working with my parliamentary colleagues on the Gold Coast to deliver it. Lots of new residents are coming to the Gold Coast in droves. Pimpama and Ormeau are the fastest-growing suburbs in the country, 45 minutes from Brisbane and about half an hour to Surfers Paradise. In Coomera alone there are 13,000 residents, with an expectation of 20,000 in five years and an incredible 60,000 in the next 20 years, so delivering this world-class infrastructure is so important.
The government has funded the second stage of the light rail with a $95 million contribution which has allowed this vital project to go ahead. Since the light rail began in 2014, there has been an increase in public transport patronage of more than 25 per cent and punctuality and reliability of 99.99 per cent, so it is no surprise that there have already been millions of passenger trips. Having stage 2 connect Helensvale in my electorate right through to the light rail ending currently at the hospital connects the light rail to the heavy rail. It is a great coup and a great series of investments by this government in the electorate of Fadden on the Gold Coast.
We have also been able to partner with our respective levels of government in the provision of $10 million from the Commonwealth to get exit 54 on the M1 upgraded—which will be opening very soon—which will cut down access time for parents getting kids to school and provide easy access to Dreamworld and other businesses in the area. We have funded up to $30 million to get Thor: Ragnarok filmed on the Gold Coast in my electorate, and I was lucky enough to visit the set, which at that time employed almost a thousand people. That company's estimated Australian spend on the film was $220 million.
There have been some disappointments. Rocky Point Sugar Mill's fire was terrible, and I feel for the owner, Bill Heck, and the mill's workers. I have spoken about the heart-rending issues in Dreamworld, although I am pleased to see it opening on 10 December for the first time since the tragedy. I look forward to being there to support all of those staff and all of those great businesses involved, and wish Dreamworld well.