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Sporting tennis legend Rod Laver has been recognised ahead of the Brisbane International.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson joined Assistant Minister for Public Transport Steve Minnikin and Rod Laver to name a Yeerongpilly footbridge in the tennis legend’s honour.

“I’m proud to be here today to unveil two new plaques recognising the sporting legend as it is important to acknowledge the extraordinary achievements of our fellow Queenslanders,” Mr Emerson said.

“Now when tennis fans are travelling across the popular bridge to get to the Queensland Tennis Centre from Yeerongpilly train station they can remember a sporting hero.

“I’m thrilled Rod could visit our city ahead of the Brisbane International to accept this tribute, which will serve as a permanent reminder of his outstanding achievements.

“Australia already pays homage to the legendary tennis player through Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne and a hall in his home town, and we’re pleased we can now honour him here in Brisbane.”

Mr Minnikin said the idea had been championed by Brisbane Tennis Trail Advocate Peter Rasey.

“Mr Rasey is a tireless volunteer in the community who came to me with the idea of fittingly naming the footbridge as he felt it was important to bring Rod Laver’s name back to Queensland,” Mr Minnikin said.

“The footbridge’s name now heightens its significance to local and visiting tennis enthusiasts, with the original design based on the herringbone sole pattern used on traditional tennis shoes.

“The pattern across the bridge replicates the sole pattern from a Dunlop volley tennis shoe, worn by the likes of Rod Laver among others in his generation.”

Mr Laver, who was born in Rockhampton, dominated the tennis circuit in the 1960s, winning 17 of his 20 titles in this decade.

He became the only player to win the Grand Slam twice and also won the first Open Wimbledon in 1968 and the first Australian Open in 1969.

To complement the renamed bridge’s new plaque, a larger sign to clearly indicate the bridge’s new name to passing motorists on Fairfield Road will also be installed on the footbridge later this year.

Passengers will be spared an annual public transport fare increase today following the Newman LNP Government’s decision to freeze fares across Queensland in 2015.

Transport Minister Scott Emerson said the decision to scrap the 2.5 per cent increase due this month, coupled with last year’s historic fares cut, would save passengers hundreds of dollars a year.

“This year’s fare freeze, on top of last year’s five per cent fare reduction, is part of our strong plan to improve the frequency, reliability and affordability of the public transport network,” Mr Emerson said.

“As a result of the Newman LNP Government’s decision to re-invest carbon tax savings back into public transport, families have more money to spend on the things that matter.

“The combined effect of the fare decrease and fare freeze means a regular weekday passenger travelling to work from the Gold Coast to Brisbane will be $443 per year better off.

“In regional Queensland, a regular weekday passenger in Townsville, for example, travelling four zones from Stockland Shopping Centre to Townsville City will save up to $176 a year.”

Mr Emerson said the LNP was delivering on its promise to keep public transport fares as low as possible.

“We know there is still more to do, but only the LNP has a strong plan to ensure public transport is a viable option for Queenslanders ­­- while Labor has no plan and no policies,” Mr Emerson said.

“While we introduced the first state-wide public transport fare cut in Queensland’s history, the former Transport Minister’s legacy was 15 per cent fare increases every year.

“Under the LNP, train reliability has turned around from Labor’s three-year low of 86 per cent to our all-time high of 96 per cent - the best result in the country.”

Air services to Cape York communities will continue from tomorrow, following the end of SkyTrans operations on Friday.

Transport Minister Scott Emerson said services would resume into the Cape York townships of Aurukun, Bamaga, Coen, Edward River (Pormpuraaw), Kowanyama and Lockhart River tomorrow.

“The Queensland Government has come to an agreement with WestWing Aviation to ensure air services operate in these communities,” Mr Emerson said.

“This is a short-term arrangement while my department speaks to private operators about their plans for this region.

“I’m encouraged by the response from operators who believe there is a viable market to operate services across the Cape.

“Regional Express has indicated it will seek approvals to operate in these markets by late January.”

Member for Cook David Kempton said a number of affected local councils were keen to see services continue for their communities.

“I’d like to thank passengers and councils for their patience,” Mr Kempton said.

“While this is a quiet time of year for travel in and out of the region, my priority has been to ensure these communities remain connected, particularly ahead of the monsoon season.”

A review of government-supported air services led to three routes being deregulated and seven put out to tender.

The tenders were assessed independently, on the basis of service quality and value for Queensland taxpayers.

The same tender process occurred in 2009, when SkyTrans was awarded several contracts.

Queensland boaties will benefit from new boat ramps and walkways after the Newman LNP Government announced the latest round of marine infrastructure projects to be delivered in 2016.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said the projects were part of the Queensland Government’s $50 million Marine Infrastructure Fund, which has been delivering for boaties and anglers since 2012.

“More and more Queenslanders are heading out to enjoy our stunning creeks, rivers and waterways, so we need to make sure our facilities can handle the increase in users,” Mr Emerson said.

“We have a strong plan to deliver better infrastructure ­– and we’re committed to supporting the state’s tourism and marine economies.

“In the past two and a half years, 42 projects have been finished and are being enjoyed by the boating and angling community, with 20 more projects in the planning, design or construction phases.

“Couple these with the final four projects announced today, and it brings the total to 66 new and upgraded marine facilities funded across Queensland.”

Works will be delivered in conjunction with councils and are due to start this year.

Projects in this final round include:

  • a new two-lane boat ramp and floating walkway at Twin Waters, on Nojoor Road in the Maroochy River
  • upgrading the Ocean Creek boat ramp on Peggy Bog Road, Airdmillan
  • widening of the Nerimbera boat ramp in the Fitzroy River from two to four lanes
  • widening of the Coorooman Creek boat ramp at Zilzie from two to four lanes

Member for Lytton Neil Symes said boaties and anglers at Manly Boat Harbour, one of the busiest harbours in Australia, were already benefiting from projects delivered by the fund.

“In December the $1.5 million northern breakwater extension was completed and holiday boaties have been enjoying smoother, safer sailing as a result,” Mr Symes said.

“The existing breakwater was raised and extended by 113 metres to provide boaties with better protection from wind and waves, especially from the north.

“This upgrade complements the previous installation of two new floating walkways on the two public boat ramps and widening of the entrance channel completed in 2014.”

Queenslanders are being encouraged to stay safe while enjoying New Year’s Eve celebrations by choosing public transport where possible.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said public transport would be the best option to get around on New Year’s Eve with more than 900 extra services available across south east Queensland.

“The Newman LNP Government is a strong team with a strong plan to provide a public transport network that is safe, affordable and reliable,” Mr Emerson said.

“Last year passengers were well behaved and we are hoping everyone can keep up the good work again this year and make it the safest New Year on record.

“Passengers can feel safer than ever before as we have increased the number of senior network officers who patrol the network to 59, with seven new officers having graduated this month.

“They will be joined by customer service officers and security officers out on the network to ensure everyone gets home safely and to help with all their travel queries.

“With free public transport on the south east Queensland network from 9pm tonight (31 December, 2014) until 5.30am on New Year’s Day, trains and buses will be the best option for party-loving passengers.”

Acting Police Minister Andrew Powell said police would be looking out for revellers in Queensland’s new Safe Night Out precincts.

“The Queensland Police Service will be protecting the public throughout the festive season,” Mr Powell said.

“Officers from Cairns to Coolangatta will be working to ensure we bring in 2015 safely.

“Our high-visibility patrols over New Year’s will be boosted by using some of the 800 additional officers the Newman LNP Government has delivered since 2012.”

Queensland is on track to have the lowest road toll on record thanks to the LNP Newman Government’s Road Safety Action plan, police enforcement and the vigilance of drivers.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said as the year is coming to an end, all road users were encouraged to continue their vigilance and make 2014 the safest year on our roads.

“Today, the 2014 road toll stands at 223, which is 48 less than last year’s road toll,” Mr Emerson said.

“Until this year, our lowest record benchmark was in 2010. However we are 26 below that toll currently and while any death on our road is a tragedy, all Queenslanders should be congratulated for their patience, attention, caution and observing the fatal five.

“Looking back through history it is a sobering fact that the highest road toll was 638 in 1973 and while the state’s population has more than doubled since then, the road toll has more than halved.”

Mr Emerson said while the state was finishing the year with a record low road toll, Queenslanders were being urged to remain vigilant on the roads as the summer holidays continue into 2015.

“The LNP Government is a strong team with a strong plan to make our roads safer for all Queenslanders and that is why we have delivered a $350 million Road Safety Action Plan,” he said.

“As part of this, we have been actively encouraging the community to understand the dangers of the fatal five when driving on our roads: speeding, drink and drug driving, failure to wear a seatbelt and driving while fatigued or distracted.

“The community has been able to get on board with road safety in one way or another through our Join the Drive campaign which is a fresh, modern approach to our frontline campaigns shying away from images of gore and broken bones that are no longer working.

“We have also been educating Queenslanders to share the road as part of our Thanks Queensland campaign.”

These measures, in conjunction with the positive attitudes of Queenslanders being more aware of their actions on the road, have all helped contribute to the encouraging reduction in the road toll.

Preliminary work has started at Graceville train station to improve accessibility following consultation with passengers.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said the work involved detailed geotechnical investigations in preparation for the main upgrade works next year.

“The Newman LNP Government is a strong team with a strong plan to make a real difference to Queenslanders’ lives and make it easier to access public transport,” Mr Emerson said.

“At the end of this project, Graceville station will be independently accessible, meaning the station and all train platforms can be accessed via paths, ramps or lifts, without using stairs.

“This means anyone with a disability or injury, the elderly or people travelling with prams, small children or luggage can access public transport and get to their destination more easily.

“Designs are currently being finalised and are expected to include new lifts to access the station and platforms, a unisex, accessible toilet and improvements to the existing subway.”

Mr Emerson said, with a station like Graceville which is more than 55 years old, it is important to ensure the upgrade designs maintain the station’s heritage significance.

“A design team including a contractor has been engaged and detailed designs are expected to be completed in early 2015,” he said.

“Throughout April and May, we actively engaged passengers and the community of Graceville to hear their comments on these planned works.

“We have reviewed all feedback to ensure we’re delivering the facilities which will meet our passengers’ needs, and look forward to unveiling the finished product.”

Graceville is one of four stations receiving accessibility upgrades with Alderley, Newmarket and Dinmore also scheduled to receive improvements.

A safe path for Western suburb cyclists is one step closer, with three tenderers shortlisted for the construction of the Moggill Road cycle bridge.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said the new cycle bridge would provide a safer passage for about 800 cyclists riding along the Centenary Bikeway to Brisbane City every day.

“The LNP Government is a strong team with a strong plan to make Queensland the safest place to work, commute and raise a family and I’m committed to delivering better cycling infrastructure as part of that strong plan,” Mr Emerson said.

“I have spoken to many cyclists and motorists in my electorate about this intersection and I’m pleased to be delivering the best possible solution addressing key safety concerns.

“The Moggill Road cycle bridge will not only increase safety, it will also improve connectivity and travel times for cyclists.”

Expressions of Interest for the cycle bridge construction have closed and three potential contractors are now being invited to submit proposals for the contract.

The successful tenderer will be announced early next year and construction will be in full swing by mid-2015.

The cycle bridge will be on the eastern side of Moggill Road and the Western Freeway interchange.

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Passengers will be safer when travelling across the south-east Queensland public transport network this Christmas with seven new Senior Network Officers set to graduate this month.

Transport Minister Scott Emerson said the new recruits would bring the force to 59 officers in time for the busy festive season.

“The Newman LNP Government has a strong plan to make Queensland the safest place to live, travel and raise a family,” Mr Emerson said.

“The new Senior Network Officer team will graduate on 18 December helping to make public transport safer for both passengers and staff.

“The latest recruits are part of our recent promise to deliver 18 additional officers, bringing the total team to 70 by mid-2015.”

Mr Emerson said the new officers would play a key role in efforts to curb anti-social behaviour and reduce fare evasion.

“TransLink teams work closely with operators, the police and private security officers to tackle anti-social behaviour on the public transport network,” Mr Emerson said.

“While Labor has no plans to improve the safety of the network, we have taken a proactive approach to targeting anti-social behaviour.

“Our policies are delivering results, which has seen a 23 per cent reduction in assaults on bus drivers across south-east Queensland and a 50 per cent decrease on the Gold Coast compared to the previous Labor government.

“We still know there’s more to be done so we’re continuously increasing the number of Senior Network Officers and conducting blitzes on the network.”

Before graduating, all Senior Network Officers have to undertake an intensive eight-week course, which covers legislative powers, tactical and physical training, and conflict management.

They also undergo criminal history checks, psychometric testing, and a medical examination.

Labor leader Annastacia Palaszczuk’s scandalous management of Queensland’s travel train replacement program extended well beyond forgetting to include seats, a new report has exposed.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said today’s report by Auditor-General Andrew Greaves showed the Sunlander project, which was signed off by the former Transport Minister in August 2011, was a ‘case study in obfuscation and ill-informed decision making’.

“The Leader of the Opposition needs to tell Queensland families whether she was simply incompetent when she signed over $195 million of taxpayer funds, or whether she hid the fact that the project would blow out by another $200 million,” Mr Emerson said.

“The auditor-general’s report revealed the full project costs were conservatively estimated in the range of $358 million to $404 million.

“Ms Palaszczuk’s approval showed a scandalous disregard for governance and exposed Queensland taxpayers’ to a massive bill, similar to the bungled health payroll saga, water grid and other Labor failures.

"The auditor-general’s report has highlighted the risk posed by the Opposition Leader and Labor if Queenslanders vote for a return to waste and mismanagement at the next election.”

Mr Emerson said the Sunlander 14 project was signed off by Ms Palaszczuk in August 2011 as three 14-car trains to operate between Brisbane and Cairns.

“When the LNP came to Government, due diligence showed potential for a significant cost blowout after Labor forgot to order seats and include a proper maintenance facility,” he said.

“The project was re-scoped and all three 9-car Spirit of Queensland trains will now be operating by the end of December, on time and within a budget of $204 million.

“It took an enormous effort to prevent this project from blowing out as the contracts were signed when we came to government.

“We have a strong team with a strong plan to fix the Queensland economy and this project shows a Labor leader who is unfit to govern.

“I also welcome the findings that the current Queensland Rail board’s efforts ‘are encouraging and demonstrate QR has already learned from the failing of the Sunlander 14 project’.”

All recommendations from the report will be delivered with the government considering further investigation of those involved in the original decision.