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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.

The Newman Government has moved quickly to improve the reliability of the city rail network which suffered major failures in the lead up to the State election.

Minister for Transport and Main Roads, Scott Emerson, said today he had directed his department to conduct an independent audit of the city rail network to assess the reliability and integrity of the network.

"The LNP is a passenger-focused government that is committed to growing patronage," Mr Emerson said.

"But for more commuters to choose to take public transport they need to have confidence in the reliability of the rail network."

The failure of the network on two occasions just prior to the last election left tens of thousands of commuters stranded and late for work.

"Commuters were justifiably annoyed that the system had let them down," Mr Emerson said.

"I have now directed the department to conduct an independent audit to find out what went wrong, what circumstances led to the system reaching such an unreliable state and, more importantly, what needs to be done to stop similar failures occurring in the future."

Mr Emerson said the audit would focus on the reliability of the rail network, the third plank in the Newman Government's approach to improving public transport patronage.

"During the election campaign we outlined measures to improve affordability for commuters and to increase the frequency of services through a trial on the Ferny Grove line.

"Now, I'm pleased to announce we are addressing the issue of reliability.

"I expect the independent auditor to be appointed by the end of this month, and a report to be finalised by 30 June.

"An interim report, to be delivered by 31 May, highlighting significant issues which have emerged to that date will also be provided so any urgent remedial action can be implemented without delay.

"The auditor will be required to conduct complete inspections of the rail infrastructure, including civil structures and track, signalling, telecommunications, and power systems and electrical overheads.

"I also want the auditor to comment on the relationship between rolling stock maintenance and network issues, as well as review Queensland Rail's current and future maintenance and capital investment plans for SEQ."

Mr Emerson said Queensland Rail will co-operate fully with the audit, and the auditor will be given free access to all previous Queensland Rail reports, audits and studies.

An increasingly desperate Bligh Labor government has tried to con commuters by fiddling with its official public transport figures as latest official patronage results show a fall of almost three million trips on trains, buses and ferries compared to same period last year, the State Opposition said today.

Shadow Transport Minister Scott Emerson said train trips in the July-September quarter had crashed by more than two million to 14.1 million in the latest Translink Tracker, compared to 16.3 million recorded in the Translink Tracker for that quarter last year, with bus and ferry patronage also down.

“But in a sign of how desperate and panic-stricken this failed Bligh Labor government has become, Labor has now ‘reviewed’ last year’s official figures, altering the numbers  to claim train patronage is up compared to last year,” Mr Emerson said.

“This is a bizarre con trick by the Bligh Government — which is more interested in fiddling statistics, rather than fixing the transport system.

“All the Bligh government has done for public transport is increase fares by more than 35 per cent over the last two years, with another 15 per cent increase to come into effect from January 1 to pay for Labor’s astronomical debt and $100 million a week interest.

“Those punishing fare increases have driven down commuter usage — and Labor is so embarrassed it has decided to re-write history and pretend patronage is up.”

Mr Emerson said the latest Translink Tracker also showed complaints from commuters jumped up from last quarter.  Affordability was stuck at a three-year low, and go card usage had flatlined.

“While Labor is trying to air-brush out its failures, the LNP will work to improve public transport.   A key initiative is to offer free trips after nine journeys on a go card in a week,” he said.

"Now is the time for change. Time to get Queensland back on track."

The State Opposition has forced the Bligh Labor Government to scrap a plan to leave 16 train stations unstaffed after the LNP raised concerns about the safety of public transport users.

Shadow Transport Minister Scott Emerson said Queensland Rail last night ruled out stripping the stations of staff after the LNP warned of the impact on commuter safety.

"This is a win for commuter safety but the fact that this failed Labor government was planning to strip the stations of staff, including at crime 'hot spots', shows just how out of touch the Bligh government has become," Mr Emerson said.

“Removing staff from these stations would have put commuters at risk with passenger safety essential to increasing rail user patronage.

"Staff will now remain at the stations at Bundamba, Wynnum, Lota, Oxford Park, Holmview, North Boondall, Keperra, Virginia, Ebbw Vale, Gailes, Chelmer, Hemmant, Rocklea, Moorooka, Sunshine, Nudgee and Palmwoods on the Sunshine Coast after the LNP campaigned against the move.

"Sadly Labor MPs remained silent while the Bligh government moved to strip staff from stations in their electorates and left it to the LNP to force the unsafe plan to be abandoned.

“It’s no wonder local commuters want a change of government when their safety is considered unimportant by the Bligh government.

Mr Emerson said Labor has never had a real plan to encourage the use of public transport. In fact, under this Government public transport fares are doubling over five years.

“The CanDo team recently announced an LNP government would reward loyal public transport users by reintroducing discounted weekly fares for go card users, he said.

Mr Emerson said regular commuters who have used their go card for nine journeys during a week would be rewarded with all additional trips free of charge. For regular commuters, this will mean a free trip home on Friday afternoon - and free trips all weekend.

“Our plan will save a regular weekday commuter to the CBD from Oxley or Mitchelton $220 a year - while commuters travelling from Varsity Lakes or Palmwoods will save $667 each year.

“An LNP government will work hard to improve our public transport system," Mr Emerson said.

“Only the CanDo team will invest in crucial infrastructure."

 The State Opposition has slammed the Bligh government for secretly slashing a major passenger train building contract by 25 per cent, despite claiming the profits from soaring public transport fares are being reinvested in the system.

 Shadow Minister for Transport Scott Emerson said the Government had claimed the multi-billion dollar New Generation Rollingstock project would replace and expand the existing train fleet with 200 three-car passenger trains.

 "Instead the Bligh government has now told bidders that the contract will now only be for 75, six car passenger trains, effectively slashing the order by a quarter," Mr Emerson said.

 When Transport Minister Annastasia Palaszczuk was asked in Parliament about the secret decision to slash train numbers, she repeatedly refused to confirm the State would get 200 new passenger trains.

 Mr Emerson said the cut in train numbers comes despite fares increasing at least 35 per cent in the last two years with commuters facing further risers of 15 per cent each year until 2014.

 “Labor insists these fee hikes are used for investment in public transport infrastructure but the cut to new train numbers shows they are trying to con commuters.

 "The truth is the extra money from the hikes in train, bus and ferry fares is going to pay the $100 million a week interest bill on the massive debt Labor has given Queensland.

 “Commuters are fed up.

 “The latest Translink Tracker report statistics shows commuters took 1.7 million fewer train, bus and ferry trips in April-June compared to the same quarter last year because they think public transport is too expensive.

 “This is a tired, 20-year-old Labor government out of touch with the cost of living pressures on Queensland families and commuters.

 “Only a CanDo LNP Government will cut waste and get action on the basics.”

Queenslanders didn't need another glossy report to tell them the Bligh Government had failed to deliver on public transport and main roads, the State Opposition said today.

Shadow Minister for Transport, Scott Emerson said Labor had had 20 years to improve our transport and roads systems, but their report Connecting SEQ 2031: An Integrated Regional Transport Plan for South East Queensland released today, revealed they’ve continued to let Queensland commuters down.

“Despite providing 144 pages of glossy document and a press release suggesting this is a ‘plan’, buried on page 139 is the admission the ‘plan’ is in no way a commitment to infrastructure spending or any particular piece of infrastructure,” said Mr Emerson.

“What exactly is this document if it’s not a commitment?

“It's a pre-election gimmick from a tired, 20 year old Labor government.  It's a disgrace.

“This is another taxpayer funded, colour brochure from Labor that withholds the disastrous truth before an election, only to reveal the real extent of the crisis after an election.

“The Connecting SEQ 2031 transport report unveils an estimated $227 billion unfunded wish list to try to spin the Bligh government’s way out of the fact that under them, public transport has become used less and more expensive.

“We already know Labor has a $150 billion infrastructure shortfall now.

“The fact is, Labor has failed to increase public transport usage,” said Mr Emerson.

Mr Emerson said total trips in 2008/09 was 181.9 million and fell in 2010/11 to 178.6 million.  Labor is not meeting their current target of 188 million.

“Thirteen years ago Labor increased the target of seven in 100 public transport journeys to 14/100 by 2010.  Fourteen years later they’ve failed to achieve their goal and extended the 14/100 target to 2031,” he said.

What’s worse, even Labor Minister Neil Roberts admitted on 612 ABC Radio* the Bligh Government’s Cross River Rail plan was another Labor sham with no money and no start date for construction.

“Labor has ignored bus, train, ferry and road infrastructure,” said Mr Emerson. 

Shadow Minister for Main Roads, Dr Mark Robinson said South East Queensland road projects were all in doubt because of uncertainty created by Labor’s carbon tax as well as the Bligh Government’s failure to plan and deliver.

“A CanDo government will fight for our fair share of federal road funding and deliver on improvements around the state, including the Bruce Highway.  Unlike Mr Wallace who failed to invest $600 million on our roads in 2010-11.

“In 2008/09 the dishonest Bligh government promised dual laning of Mt Cotton Road by early 2012, then after the election broke their promise,” said Dr Robinson.

“Labor got a second chance at the last election, not this time.

“The LNP will stand up for Queensland commuters and deliver improved public transport and roads infrastructure,” said Mr Emerson and Dr Robinson.

Labor’s announcement of free travel after 10 public transport trips in a week was a ‘con on commuters’ who will get little or no relief and still be hit with massive fare increases to pay for Labor’s economic mismanagement, the State Opposition said today.

LNP Shadow Transport Minister Scott Emerson said very few public transport users would get any relief under Labor’s latest fare con as very few take more than 10 journeys each week.

"But they will still be hit with a 15 percent increase in fares each year for the next three years under Labor's plan to force commuters to pay for the $100 million a week interest bill on its massive $85 billion debt," Mr Emerson said.

"That's on top of the at least 35 percent increase in the cost of fares train, bus and ferry users have been slugged with by Labor over the last two years.

"Many of those commuters who take the extra journey after ten trips do so to attend a major event such as a football match at Suncorp Stadium with the price of the trip already added to the match ticket so they will also get no relief from Labor's con.

"And the increase in the off peak fare discount was announced two years ago at the same time as Labor's plan to double the cost of fares over five years."

Mr Emerson said Labor's latest fare con was a panicked move to try to divert attention away from its own Translink Tracker report, released on Friday, which showed public transport affordability had crashed to a three year low under the Bligh Government.

"That report, which covered the April to June 2011 period, showed there were 1.7 million fewer train, bus and ferry  trips that quarter compared to the same quarter last year with commuters believing public transport was increasingly unaffordable," Mr Emerson said.

"Labor's last public transport con was when it tried to blame falling patronage on the floods. This latest survey covered disaster-free months and continued a trend started before the floods.

“There’s no getting away from the fact patronage has collapsed two years in a row – and each drop triggered by a fare increase.

“This is a Labor government out of touch with the cost of living pressures on Queensland families and commuters. Labor have been in power for 20 years and they still can’t get it right.

“Only a CanDo LNP Government will cut waste and take action on the basics.”

Public transport affordability has crashed to a three year low under the Bligh government, the State Opposition said today.

LNP Shadow Minister for Transport Scott Emerson said the government released its own Translink Tracker for April to June 2011 which was further proof Labor’s fare hikes were driving commuters away from public transport.

The latest report showed there were 1.7 million fewer train, bus and ferry  trips that quarter compared to the same quarter last year with commuters believing public transport is increasingly unaffordable.

“Fares have risen more than 30 percent in two years and are scheduled to rise a further 15 percent each year until 2014,” Mr Emerson said.

“Labor is forcing commuters to pay for its financial mismanagement and the $100 million a week interest bill on its debt by hiking up public transport fares.”

Mr Emerson said the latest Translink Tracker exposed Labor’s con on Queenslanders when it tried to blame falling patronage on the floods. This latest survey covered disaster-free months and continued a trend started before the floods.

“There’s no getting away from the fact patronage has collapsed two years in a row – and each drop triggered by a fare increase,” Mr Emerson said.

“It’s not surprising that GoCard complaints and adjustments are on the rise and that overall satisfaction with bus and rail has plummeted.

“The fare hikes aren’t going back into better public transport services, they’re going towards paying off the Bligh government’s gross mismanagement of the State’s budget and its $85 billion debt.

“This is a Labor government out of touch with the cost of living pressures on Queensland families and commuters.

“Only a CanDo LNP Government will cut waste and get action on the basics.”

Article from Nine News, click here for the full story.

Queensland has no strategy to promote its arts precinct and its processes for acquiring exhibitions at its premier galleries are inadequate, a new report says.

The report by auditor-general Glenn Poole has found that the government is failing to take advantage of the proximity of the State Library, the Queensland Museum, the Queensland Art Gallery and the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane's Southbank.

"There is no cultural-centre strategy or plan to promote a shared and collaborative vision for the precinct," said the report tabled in the Queensland Parliament on Tuesday.

Read more: Qld culture hub lagging behind

The Bligh Labor Government has no cultural tourism strategy, and its processes for acquiring art gallery exhibitions are inadequate, an Auditor-General report tabled in State Parliament today reveals.

Shadow Arts Minister Scott Emerson said the Bligh Labor Government must act on the report’s recommendations to ensure there was better co-ordination between the arts bodies operating within the Cultural Centre. “As the report identifies, the fact that the Queensland Museum, the State Library and the Queensland Art Gallery are all located within the one precinct provides a unique opportunity to promote Brisbane’s cultural heart,” he said.

“It is not good enough that under Labor, the Auditor-General has found there is ‘no Cultural Centre strategy’, and that ‘no cultural tourism and events strategy exists to promote and position Queensland within this competitive domestic and international market’.

“At a time when our tourism industry is struggling because of Labor’s economic policies, it is absolutely vital that we do all we can to leverage off our burgeoning arts reputation.” Mr Emerson said it was also concerning that the Auditor-General found the Art Gallery’s processes for acquiring exhibitions were ‘not adequate’, and that the ‘decision making and approval process is not documented’.

“The acquisition of art exhibitions can be an expensive process so it is vital that taxpayers’ money is spent wisely,” he said. “The Bligh Labor Government must take on board the commonsense, practical recommendations to ensure taxpayers get the best bang for their arts buck and that we make the most of promoting our Cultural Centre precinct.

“The CanDo LNP team will forward plan and support Queensland’s tourism industry.”