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Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson announced that Neil Scales OBE has accepted the offer to take up the appointment as the new Director-General, Department of Transport and Main Roads.

Mr Emerson said Neil had demonstrated over the past four months that he was the right person to lead the Department.

Governor in Council yesterday approved to terminate the employment contract of Michael Caltabiano as Director-General, Department of Transport and Main Roads.

“Neil has been acting DG since October 2012 and showed outstanding leadership during the recent floods as the Department worked to re-open roads, re-build bridges and re-connect communities quickly,” Mr Emerson said.

“He understands that the task has only just begun to deliver a significant recovery and resilience program across Queensland.

“Neil will also lead the implementation of Newman Government reforms, including a better public transport network, safer licensing, and the delivery of road and transport projects across Queensland.”

Matt Longland will remain as the acting Deputy Director General of TransLink.

 

The next step in the Newman Government’s road safety public education campaign and enforcement blitz will focus on seatbelts.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson and Police Minister Jack Dempsey said the blitz and advertising, starting as many of the state's motorists face several days of wet driving conditions, would highlight the importance of seatbelts in saving lives.

“The seatbelt is the single most effective feature in a vehicle to reduce the severity of injuries to people in a crash,” Mr Emerson said.

“More than one-in-five people who died on Queensland roads last year was not wearing a seatbelt.

“It should be second nature, but the message is simply not getting through to some people.

“I was concerned to read recent media reports on studies which show the number of people who admit to speeding, not wearing a seatbelt, texting or drink-driving.”

Mr Dempsey said the Queensland Police Service would start an enforcement blitz from today, targeting drivers and passengers not wearing their seatbelts.

The blitz will accompany a public education campaign featuring graphic images demonstrating what can happen to a human body in a crash when not wearing a seatbelt.

The television commercials, which will run from February 27, are accompanied by radio advertising as well as outdoor billboards across Queensland.

“If you are involved in a crash, the simple fact is that without a seatbelt to hold your body back, your internal organs continue travelling forwards with greater force and can do more damage,” Mr Dempsey said.

“In the past five years, an average of 33 people have died each year when not wearing their seatbelt, and this is simply too many deaths that may well have been avoided by one simple action – buckling up.”

Additional information

 

  • In 2012, there were 23 unrestrained vehicle occupant fatalities as a result of crashes within Queensland, which represents 20.9% of all vehicle occupant fatalities, where restraint use was known (n=110).  Figures for 2012 are preliminary and subject to change.
  • During 1 January to 30 September 2012, there were 122 unrestrained vehicle occupant hospitalised casualties as a result of crashes within Queensland, which represents 4.3% of all vehicle occupant hospitalised casualties, where restraint use was known (n=2,860).
  • The driver and all passengers must wear seatbelts or use restraints. As a driver you are responsible for ensuring that any adult passenger wears a seatbelt, and that children are appropriately restrained in your vehicle. Drive with a passenger of any age without a seatbelt or approved child restraint and you risk being fined $330 and three demerit points, for each unrestrained or incorrectly restrained passenger.

The Moorooka Recovery Centre will close on Friday 15 February and will transition to an outreach model where Community Recovery workers visit people in their homes. 

Phone the Community Recovery Hotline on 1800 173 349 for information about your eligibility or to make application for the state flood assistance. Further information is available on the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services website via www.communities.qld.gov.au.

  All Australians are being urged to save the date and celebrate Australia Day II on February 23 in Queensland.

Due to recent weather events many Queenslanders were not able to celebrate the national day, and Australia Day II is another chance to do so while also supporting the state’s tourism industry.

The Australia Day II campaign calls on Australians to make plans to visit Queensland as soon as they can, and is another opportunity to acknowledge the efforts of all emergency services and other volunteers at a time when it was most needed.

 The face of the Australia Day II campaign is Sam Kekovich, one of the best known Australia Day figures during recent years. This is the first step of the Government’s tourism recovery strategy for flood affected areas and everyone is encouraged to get involved.

Donations to the Premier’s 2013 Flood Appeal can be made by contacting the Red Cross on 1800 811 700 or online at http://www.redcross.org.au/qld-floods-2013.aspx. Donations also can be made at Australia Post, Commonwealth Bank, Bank of Queensland, St George Bank, NAB and Westpac branches across Australia.

Queensland small businesses working hard to become more sustainable are being encouraged to nominate for the 2013 Premier’s Sustainability Awards. 

Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games Jann Stuckey said the awards identified and recognised those who had made an outstanding contribution to promoting and advancing sustainability in Queensland.

“The award for small business is designed to showcase Queensland-based initiatives that have helped set higher standards in business efficiency, commercial competitiveness and environmental performance,” Ms Stuckey said.

“The 2013 awards program includes eight categories, as well as the Premier’s Award. My department will sponsor the Small Business category with the winner to receive $2,500 to support their work.

“Small business underpins Queensland’s four-pillar economy, supporting tourism, agriculture, resources and construction.

“I would encourage all small businesses using sustainable practices to put themselves forward for this award.”

Nominations for the 2013 Premier’s Sustainability Awards close on 15 March 2013, and the winners will be announced at an awards dinner at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on 14 June.

For more information or to nominate, visit www.ehp.qld.gov.au/premiersawards or phone 3339 5873.

For business information and assistance visit www.business.qld.gov.au.

Small businesses may be eligible for state government assistance following the extreme weather conditions of the Australia Day weekend and power outages in the Indooroopilly electorate. For more information contact QRAA on 1800 623 946 or visit their website via www.qraa.qld.gov.au.

Sport and Recreation Disaster Recovery Program grants of up to $25,000 have been made available to help clubs replace much needed equipment and repair clubhouses and grounds damaged in the extreme weather. Club eligibility information and application forms are available from Sport and Recreation Service Centres, at www.nprsr.qld.gov.au or by calling 1300 656 191 for assistance. Applications will remain open until Friday 10 May 2013.

Many residents in the Indooroopilly electorate experienced power loss following the extreme weather conditions over the Australia Day weekend. If you didn’t have power for 48 hours or more, you may be eligible for assistance through the state government’s Personal Hardship Scheme. A grant of up to $180 per person up to a maximum of $900 for a family of five or more is available to cover unexpected basic costs of essential items such as food. For more information phone 1800 173 349 or visit the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services website via www.communities.qld.gov.au.

The Queensland Government has warned it is only a matter of time until a pedestrian dies ignoring the protection at level crossings in South East Queensland.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said he was shocked to see recent footage highlighting the deplorable behaviour which is occurring nearly every day across the rail network.

“Every crossing throughout the city network has boom gates and flashing lights, which are there for the protection of pedestrians,” Mr Emerson said.

“The alarming reality is that some pedestrians are not getting the message and are continuing to take on trains whether it’s by pushing through the pedestrian gates, or racing a train as the boom gates are lowering.

“I was horrified to see one example, captured by CCTV cameras at Deagon station, when students foolishly risked their lives at the level crossing, resulting in a very near miss.

“These children avoided a collision by seconds, when they pushed through pedestrian gates and rushed across the tracks in front of a train travelling at approximately 65 km/h.”

Queensland Rail CEO Jim Benstead said train drivers and station staff had raised concerns about the number of people not following the rules around train stations.

“These are examples of what Queensland Rail train drivers and guards are seeing more and more often – pedestrians racing across train tracks and playing Russian Roulette with their lives,” Mr Benstead said.

“We’ve had enough with pedestrians telling us they know better, they know the timetable and they can predict when it’s safe to cross.”

In another incident at Wulkuraka, near Ipswich, a young man kicked open the pedestrian gate in an attempt to cross the tracks. Luckily the man and the two pedestrians who followed him were only scared, not killed, avoiding a collision by just seconds.

On-train footage from an incident at Albion where a person ran across the tracks in front of a train shows just how long it takes for a train to stop once the emergency brakes are applied.

In 2011, there were 472 near miss incidents at level crossings predominantly in the south east corner.