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Gold, gold, gold: South-east mayors hand Olympic wish-list to PM

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Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner is leading a delegation to Canberra for funding talks and has not given up fast rail being part of the city’s future.

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Schrinner, as chair of the South-East Queensland Council of Mayors, said finalising a City Deal with the Federal and State Governments would help deliver on the promise of a 2032 Olympics and provide a lasting legacy for residents.

He said the Morrison Government had already finalised every other deal it had promised but acknowledged the South-east Queensland agreement was more complicated.

“South-east Queensland is home to one in seven Australians – that’s a big region,” Schrinner said.

With more people moving to south-east Queensland, Schrinner said it was important for the three levels of government to manage population growth and ensure it “remains liveable as it grows”. That will require measures to protect the environment and ease congestion.

The mayors’ wish-list includes new fast rail services, including to Toowoomba, and a better freight link to connect Inland Rail to the Port of Brisbane. There has been a cloud over both proposals in recent weeks.

While Schrinner still expected the three levels of government to spend “billions of dollars” on infrastructure upgrades in future, he said a City Deal would provide long-term certainty without the politics.

“The whole aim of a City Deal is to take the election cycle away from infrastructure projects,” Schrinner said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has committed the Commonwealth’s support for the Olympic bid but is expected to seek to limit his government’s budgetary exposure, particularly with the International Olympic Committee advocating hosts use existing infrastructure where possible. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk recently emphasised fast rail was not in the official bid document.

The mayors have scheduled meetings with Morrison, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, and Opposition leader Anthony Albanese, among others, and will continue negotiations with the State Government.

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