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Stafford families will soon have modern, accessible transport facilities with tenders to design the upgrade of two train stations now closed.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson joined LNP candidate for Stafford Bob Andersen to inspect Newmarket train station and said it delivered on key election commitments.

“We promised to revitalise frontline services and provide better infrastructure, and improving access at Newmarket and Alderley delivers, whether it’s for passengers with a disability, the elderly or mums and dads with prams and young children,” Mr Emerson said.

“Labor’s only vision for public transport was to increase fares by 15 per cent a year, but we have a strong plan that will provide Queensland families with a brighter and safer future.

“Works being considered include lifts, replacing footbridges, reconfiguring existing ramps, platform raising, extending platform shelters, upgrading accessible parking and a kiss ‘n’ ride.

“All tender submissions are being reviewed and the applicant is expected to be appointed by late July.”

Mr Andersen said he was pleased the state government was listening to feedback from the community ahead of the $40 million accessibility upgrade.

“It’s great to see the government working closely with the Accessibility Reference Group and community representatives to review priority stations and ensure all rail passengers are getting the facilities they require,” Mr Andersen said.

“I hope to get involved in this project’s future milestones, delivering better infrastructure and planning to all Stafford residents.”

Advocacy Advisor Liz Jeffrey said Vision Australia was pleased the government actively consulted specialist organisations to ensure accessibility was considered when planning station upgrades.

“Consulting an organisation such as Vision Australia early in the planning process ensures that upgrades take into account the needs of people who are blind or have low vision and help make their independent travel as safe as possible,” Ms Jeffrey said.

Construction works at Newmarket, Alderley, Graceville and Dinmore stations are expected to commence by the end of this year.

Stations are prioritised for upgrades based on a number of factors, including current level of access, customer patronage, nearby accessible stations, and facilities in the local community.

COMMUTERS using the Gateway Motorway are on track to enjoy better travel times as a new lane is set to open in the next few months.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss joined Queensland Minister for Transport and Main Roads Scott Emerson, Federal Member for Petrie Luke Howarth and Member for Sandgate Kerry Millard today to visit the 2.5 kilometre road widening project between Sandgate Road and Barrett Street.

Mr Truss said the Australian Government has provided $125 million to finish the works, and get planning and land acquisition underway for further widening of the Motorway between Nudgee and Bracken Ridge.

“The Australian Government has committed a further $930 million to deliver the Nudgee to Bracken Ridge widening with early works starting later this year,” Mr Truss said.

“These projects will widen the most congested sections of the Gateway Motorway, improving traffic flow for more than 70,000 vehicles each day. Widening works along the Gateway Motorway, including the Cabbage Tree Creek and Depot Road bridges, will help reduce bottle necks.

“This will not only improve journey times for motorists, but also improve freight efficiency along the National Freight Network, which will ensure southeast Queensland’s economy continues to grow.”

Mr Emerson said the new lane was set to open in the next few months and is the perfect example of how the Queensland Government is delivering on its strong plan for a brighter future.

“Future works on the Gateway Motorway will also ensure motorists can get home to their families quicker and safer,” Mr Emerson said.

“Cyclists and pedestrians will be able to travel along the road safely thanks to new cycle and walking paths being built between Nudgee and Bracken Ridge. New traffic monitoring technology will also be installed along the motorway, which will adjust traffic flows to ensure that the large volume of freight and commuter traffic can share the road and get to their destinations quickly and safely.”

Mr Howarth said better roads was a top issue for local residents and businesses.

“People want to travel to and from work easily without being stuck in traffic jams. This project will make a big difference to traffic flow, as well as boost the local economy and make our roads safer.”

Ms Millard said it was great to see the Gateway Additional Lane project had created more than 321direct and indirect jobs.

Passengers on the Gold Coast can travel on Queensland’s first light rail system for the first time on Sunday 20 July.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said the eagerly awaited date follows confirmation that all parties are satisfied light rail is ready to go.

“The wait is finally over, and after three years of design and construction works the Gold Coast will have a world-class public transport option,” Mr Emerson said.

“As a government we have a strong plan to get more people on to public transport and light rail provides an easy-to-use, frequent service ensuring a bright future for anyone travelling in and around the Gold Coast.

“Following the day of free travel on Sunday, paid passenger tram services and the new bus timetable will commence on Monday 21 July that will include additional high frequency bus routes and improved connections between trains, buses and trams.

“Trams will run every seven-and-a-half minutes, to Southport, Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach and I encourage everyone to jump on board.”

From Monday 21 July, visitors and tourists exploring the Gold Coast will be able to purchase the new, affordable all-day travel go explore card.

Mr Emerson said for the past few months Gold Coasters have seen the light rail system testing underway that included running trams to a rigorous time table.

“Final testing and training will continue over the next two weeks,” he said.

“I want to thank businesses and residents for their ongoing patience during the construction phase.”

All details regarding the free day of tram travel as well as fares and timetable information will be on TransLink website www.translink.com.au or call 13 12 30.

The $1.2 billion project consists of 14 trams, 16 stations servicing a 13-kilometre route and is jointly funded by State and Federal Governments and the City of Gold Coast.

Tourists and visitors exploring the Gold Coast and taking advantage of the new light rail system will have access to a new, affordable all-day travel go explore card.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said the newcard was a simple and affordable way for tourists and visitors to use public transport on the Gold Coast.

“As part of our strong plan for a brighter future to get more people onto public transport, the go explore card offers an all-day public transport pass on the Gold Coast,” Mr Emerson said.

“The cost per day for a new card is $15 for adults and $7.50 for children aged 5-14 and provides unlimited travel on TransLink buses and trams on the Gold Coast.

“People can use their go explore card to visit tourist attractions, airport, shopping destinations and beaches by day, plus restaurants, bars or nightclubs by night.

“The card will be available for passengers to use once light rail services start.

“The one day pass is activated the first time you touch onto a bus or at a tram station and is valid until the last service on that day.”

Mr Emerson said it was an exciting boost for the Gold Coast tourism industry, with a card designed specifically for the area and will encourage more people to make use of  public transport and allow them  to see and experience more Gold Coast attractions.

“The card will expire 12 months after the date of purchase and all travel using your Gold Coast go explore card must be completed before the card expires,” he said.

“The Gold Coast go explore carduses the same technology as the go card, so you must always touch on and touch off when you board a bus or enter a tram station.”

Mr Emerson said tram services are expected to start once the final testing is complete.

“I look forward to the commencement of the trams that will revolutionise public transport for the Gold Coast community and get more people out of their cars, easing congestion on the road network.”

Once light rail services commence, tourists and visitors can purchase the Gold Coast go explore card from the TransLink website translink.com.au/goexplore or retailers and hotels across the Gold Coast.

Labor’s admission today that it won’t guarantee jobs growth shows yet again that only the LNP Government has a strong plan for a brighter future for Queensland.

Acting Treasurer Scott Emerson said under the LNP Government, more jobs had been created in Queensland than any other state over the last year and the state’s economic growth was expected to be the strongest in the nation this financial year.

“These solid results show our strong plan to grow the economy and make it easier to do business in Queensland is working,” Mr Emerson said.

“Opposition leader Annastacia Palaszczuk’s extraordinary admission today* that she is ‘not going to guarantee jobs growth’ if elected, confirms Labor has no plans and no policies to take Queensland forward.

“Labor can only guarantee more debt and more deficits because that’s all it knows.”

Mr Emerson said the LNP Government had clearly articulated its plan to grow the economy and reduce the state’s $80 billion debt to help fund the future schools, hospitals, roads and other infrastructure Queensland will need.

“Labor has told us nothing about how they will reduce the debt they racked up over their last decade in office and today have confirmed they have no plan for economic growth,” he said.

“In contrast, we’ve made the strongest and smartest choice to pay down debt and free up funds for job creating infrastructure projects right throughout Queensland.

“Annastacia Palaszczuk also refused to answer any questions about other issues important to Queensland mums and dads like public transport costs, car registration, electricity and water, further highlighting her lack of vision.

“Today it’s become even clearer that only the LNP Government has a strong plan for a brighter future for Queensland.”

*“I’m not going to guarantee jobs growth.” – Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk, 612 ABC Radio Brisbane, 3 July 2014

Springfield motorists and rail passengers are getting home to their families more quickly and more safely following the completion of the Centenary Highway upgrade and two new train stations.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson joined Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale to celebrate the completion of the $475 million Richlands to Springfield project today.

“As part of our strong plan for better infrastructure we have increased capacity and improved safety for motorists on the Centenary Highway,” Mr Emerson said.

“When we came into office we reviewed spending for this project and were able to remove Labor’s gold plating and deliver greater benefits for the community – for the same money.

“After reviewing the project we were able to include two 5.5km lanes on the Centenary Highway between the Logan Motorway Interchange and Springfield Parkway, in addition to the Richlands to Springfield train line.

“Motorists have benefited from these additional lanes since they were completed last month and today signals the official completion of this major transport infrastructure project.”

Cr Pisasale said Ipswich City Council was proud to be able to work with the State Government to deliver 500 car parks at the Springfield Central station.

“The car parks were completed earlier this year and it is good to see that they are being well used by rail passengers,” he said.

Mr Emerson said the additional car parks fixed another Labor infrastructure mess after it failed to plan properly for the parking needs of passengers.

“These car parks are often more than 90 per cent full by the morning peak, proving Labor’s plan of building only 100 car parks would have fallen well short of the demand,” he said.

“Patronage from the Springfield and Springfield Central train stations has continued to increase since they were opened in December last year.

“Combined, the two stations have seen passenger trips grow by 60 per cent, from 48,742 trips in December to 79,336 trips in May.

“Passengers at Springfield Central station will now also have a great appreciation of the Indigenous heritage of the region, with a display at the station showing replicas of artefacts found during early stages of the rail project.

“The display commemorates the rich history of the Yagara people in the Springfield area and the hundreds of stone tools and other indigenous artefacts found, including a fishing spear, hunting boomerang, stone axe, chisel, dilly bag and 3000-year-old earth oven.”

Queenslanders are being urged to take care during the school holidays as shocking new footage shows motorists and pedestrians gambling with their lives on the rail network.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson and Member for Sunnybank Mark Stewart today visited CoopersPlains train station, one of the state’s hotspots for railway crossing near misses, in an effort to discourage dangerous behaviour.

Although the number of near misses dropped by 27 per cent last year, Mr Emerson said too many people were taking senseless risks at rail crossings.

“Of the 135 alarming incidents that have been reported this year, 46 have occurred at CoopersPlains train station,” Mr Emerson said.

“Improving the safety of all Queenslanders is our top priority and I urge reckless individuals to stop taking senseless risks and endangering the lives of others.

“During the last school holidays at Easter, we had a shocking 17 motorists and pedestrians running the gauntlet in front of an oncoming train.

“Given a lot of families have almost two more weeks left to enjoy time off from school and work, we are encouraging everyone to pay attention and stay safe in and around level crossings.”

Mr Stewart said drivers needed to take more care at CoopersPlains station.

“Time and time again, we continue to see impatient motorists dangerously queuing across the Boundary Road level crossing, often avoiding a collision with a train by just metres,” he said.

“One near miss is too many and I urge all road users to do their part by obeying the signs and signals.”

RACQ executive manager of technical and safety policy Steve Spalding said there was no excuse for driving past the flashing lights or around a boom gate.

“You’re not just breaking the road rules but you’re also placing yourself and your passengers in a dangerous situation and possibly risking the lives of those on board the train,” Mr Spalding said.

“No train driver should have to be confronted with a situation where they are unable to stop because of the careless actions of a motorist or a truck driver.”

Pedestrians caught ignoring railway crossing protection could cop an on the spot fine of $220, and offending motorists could face a $330 penalty and three demerit points.

Motorists who damage railway crossings can also be fined up to $8800 and since July 2013 Queensland Rail has successfully recovered more than $239,000 in repair costs that would otherwise be borne by taxpayers.

Summary of railway crossing near misses reported in the 2012 & 2013 calendar years

Region

2012

2013

South East Queensland

224

163

South West Queensland

70

54

North Queensland

42

28

Far North Queensland/Tablelands

18

10

Mackay/Whitsunday

14

5

North WestQueensland

5

13

Central Queensland

10

3

Central West

5

4

WideBay

6

2

Gympie/Sunshine Coast

3

3

Total:

397

285

Passengers would pay 10 per cent more for public transport under Labor’s plan to scrap the successful free trips after nine weekly journeys incentive.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said while the Queensland Government has a strong plan for a brighter future for bus, ferry and rail passengers, Labor has no plan other than to scrap the free trips scheme that saves passengers as much as $650 a year.

“Labor already had a policy to put fares up by 15 per cent every year and now they want to hike up passengers’ public transport bill by another 10 per cent by axing the free-after-nine scheme,” Mr Emerson said.

“About 78,500 passengers a week are currently benefiting from the initiative but they would lose their weekly free public transport travel if Labor came back into power.

“This means passengers would have to pay more for public transport or, more likely, choose to travel by car without the incentive of free travel.”

Mr Emerson said while Labor Shadow Transport spokesperson Jackie Trad wants the free-after-nine scheme scrapped, her leader Annastacia Palaszczuk said the incentive ‘would be welcomed by commuters’.

“The LNP Government has already ended Labor’s disastrous policy of annual 15 per cent fare hikes, capping increases for the next three years at 2.5 per cent – below the CPI rate,” he said.

“Labor now needs to back our successful initiative that has seen passengers take more than 7.1 million free journeys since June 2012.”

Mr Emerson said our strong plan is working with patronage ahead of its target.

“There were 176.7 million trips taken in 2013-14, more than 1 million additional trips than in the previous year,” he said.

“We have also delivered 3,000 additional weekly bus and train services since coming to office and trains are running on time as reliability for peak services have improved from a three-year low under Labor to an all-time high of 96 per cent.”

Taxi passengers will have confidence that they aren’t being slugged with the wrong fare as changes to Queensland law come into effect.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said that from 1 July, automated meters will be compulsory in more than 3,000 Queensland taxis, eliminating confusion and overcharging.

“The new meters are programmed to automatically apply the correct tariff reflecting the time and day of travel, including public holidays,” Mr Emerson said.

“Taxi drivers will no longer need to manually enter in automated toll charges as they will be applied through GPS technology, providing a more accurate fare calculation.

“This reduces the chance of drivers deliberately or accidentally setting the meter to an incorrect tariff, resulting in the passenger paying an incorrect fare.

“We promised at the election to revitalise frontline services and we are delivering with a strong plan that will benefit hundreds of thousands of people, whether they are using it for business or heading out for a drink on the weekend.

“We want passengers to feel certain that the fare they pay is the right one.

“Drivers can also rest assured that a reduction in fare disputes and complaints from their passengers allows them to operate in a more secure, positive working environment.”

Chief Executive Officer of Gold Coast Cabs Martin O’Riordan said he was pleased to see the new laws come into effect.

“The Queensland taxi industry is regarded as one of the leading taxi services in the world,” Mr O’Riordan said.

“Progressive initiatives such as the implementation of automated taximeters is just one example of how the industry and government are working together to achieve continual improvement for our passengers.

“By removing the human error factor, automated meters will provide an additional level of confidence that the correct tariff and toll are always applied.”

This latest change in technology is part of the Queensland Government’s taxi reforms that were announced last year and included installing audio in taxis.

For information on taxi fares, visit www.translink.com.au or call 13 12 30, anytime.

As many as 65,000 people could be fined for fare evading following the introduction of the Queensland Government’s Tertiary Transport Concession Card.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said the new card was brought in to crack down on public transport users falsely claiming to be full-time university students in order to receive half-price fares.

“While we estimate 85,000 students are eligible for a concession in South East Queensland, almost double that number or about 150,000 people have used a Tertiary student go card this year,” Mr Emerson said.

“While we have a strong plan for a brighter future, Labor has no plan and was prepared to sit back and allow this rort to continue, costing taxpayers almost $8 million a year.

“For years, passengers have raised concerns about “students in suits” where former students who are no longer enrolled in full-time courses continue to use their old ID to get cheap travel.

“That is unfair to honest passengers and rorting puts more upward pressure on fares.

“The LNP Government has ended Labor's policy of annual 15 per cent fare increases with the recent budget capping fare increases for the next three years at 2.5 per cent - below the inflation rate - and we are determined to stamp out rorting as well.

“We applaud the 65,000 students who have done the right thing and applied for a Tertiary Transport Concession Card and encourage other eligible students to apply now.”

Mr Emerson said from Tuesday (July 1) anyone caught catching public transport on a concession fare without this card will be fined.

“Senior Network Officers have been handing out information to students advising them about the need to get the new cards since it was introduced earlier this year,” he said.

“The grace period is now up and if you do the wrong thing on our network you will be caught and risk fines of up to $227.”

Status as a full-time internal student is now determined by universities after the LNP ended Labor’s policy of requiring university student's to attend at least 12 hours of contact time to be classed as full-time.

For more information on the Tertiary Transport Concession Card, visit the TransLink website www.translink.com.au/tertiarycard or phone 13 12 30.