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Over 90,000 vehicles every weekday are now benefitting from the completed Mains Road and Kessels Road Intersection Upgrade.

Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss was joined by Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson and Member for Sunnybank Mark Stewart at the intersection today to celebrate the completion of the project.

Mr Truss said the Australian Government funded the $280 million upgrade to improve safety and efficiency for this vital section of Brisbane’s Urban Corridor.

The upgrade included construction of a four lane underpass for Kessels Road traffic, with a bridge for Mains Road above including six lanes for through traffic and additional bus and turning lanes.

“The project allows the approximately 50,000 vehicles using Kessels Road each day to flow underneath the intersection without stopping, improving safety and reducing congestion on the corridor that connects the busy Ipswich, Pacific and Gateway motorways,” Mr Truss said.

“Construction of the project has been impressive, with the underpass having excavated 50,000 cubic metres of earth. To put that in perspective, it would be more than enough to fill 20 Olympic-sized swimming pools.”

Mr Emerson said the upgrade was completed on time and on budget, which was important to minimise the disruptions on commuters and businesses trading in the area.

“The final, major change to traffic occurred earlier this week with the bus lanes on Mains Road opening - one of many improvements to our bus network as part of the project,” Mr Emerson said.

“The State Government put $750,000 towards the upgrade of the Mains Road Park ‘n’ Ride which included improved seating areas for passengers waiting for buses, establishing a passenger set down area and increasing the number of disabled parking spaces.”

Mr Stewart thanked local residents for their patience throughout the course of the project.

“I know that a number of residents around Robertson have been inconvenienced by the project but it is certainly pleasing that they will now benefit from upgraded road infrastructure and improved traffic mobility in their area,” Mr Stewart said.

“I also thank the project team for their willingness to engage with the community, including teaming up with MacGregor State High School students to develop a local design for the underpass walls.”

First results from the new driver licence test reveal a 15 per cent increase in the fail rate following the Queensland Government’s focus on high-risk manoeuvres and zero tolerance to speeding.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said the new practical test is being piloted across seven sites in Queensland and has been underway for about six weeks.

“As part of our strong plan for a brighter future we are working to make our roads safer and the new test is part of that plan,” Mr Emerson said.

“Speeding and not safely completing high-risk manoeuvres, like merging at high speeds, were among the main reasons learner drivers failed the new test.

“We make no apologies for being tough on our approach to speeding in the new test, particularly given it contributes to more than one in five road deaths in Queensland.

“Our no tolerance stance is in stark contrast to the former Labor government’s approach that allowed a candidate to speed at least twice and still pass.

“It also made sense to emphasise manoeuvres like merging at higher speeds and turning across on-coming traffic given a high number of crashes involving drivers aged 17 to 24 occurred in these scenarios.”

Mr Emerson said the fail rate at the end of week five of the pilot was 44 per cent compared to 38 per cent fail rates at non-pilot sites over the same period.

“This early data demonstrates we are on the right track to ensure our younger drivers develop the skills for those more dangerous situations before they get their licence,” he said

Mr Emerson said this was the first time in 15 years major changes had been made to the Q-SAFE driver tests.

“Since the start of the pilot more than 1200 tests have been undertaken and so far no significant concerns have been raised from customers, the driver training industry or driving examiners,” he said.

This licence reform is part of the Queensland Government’s ongoing efforts to drive down the road toll through its $350 million, two-year Road Safety Action Plan.

The pilot is being carried out from 28 April to 25 July 2014 and an assessment will follow before the program is rolled out to other centres.

Queenslanders will be shocked to learn Labor not only have zero plans for investing in our road network they don’t even consider it a priority.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said the revelation came after Labor member Jackie Trad failed to mention one road project in her budget reply speech yesterday.

“The Shadow Minister for Main Roads spoke for almost 20 minutes and not one comment was made about a highway or road project,” Mr Emerson said.

“While this government has a strong plan for a bright future that includes almost $770 million for the Bruce Highway, Labor doesn’t consider it a priority.

“The Labor party should be ashamed their Shadow Minister for Main Roads couldn’t be bothered to mention one road project.

“In a 2961 word speech, Ms Trad only mentioned the word ‘road’ once and that was to boast about Labor’s careless spending that left us with $80 billion worth of debt.

“Labor clearly has no plan for the 33,000km of state-controlled roads and no plan for improving key highways like the Capricorn, Dawson, Peak Downs or the Warrego.

“Labor again lived up to their reputation of neglecting the Bruce Highway given the 1700km lifeline was not mentioned either.

“Even the Member for Mulgrave considers any spending on the Bruce Highway to be ‘misspending’.”

Mr Emerson said given no alternative road investment plan was presented by Labor they must support our strong plan for a bright future.

“We certainly welcome Labor’s support of our $18.1 billion four year program of works,” Mr Emerson said.

Millions of public transport passengers could save thousands of dollars as the Queensland Government ends Labor's on-going public transport fare hikes, delivering on the election promise to lower the cost of living.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said Labor’s crippling 15 per cent annual fare hikes which began in 2009 would be a thing of the past, as the hard work to deliver a more efficient, frequent and reliable network paid off.
“The budget reveals any annual change to fares is not above inflation for the next three years,” Mr Emerson said.
“We already halved Labor’s increases, but through hard work and strong economic management we have been able to go even further and return costs to normal, delivering real savings for millions of people.
“This delivers on our election promise to lower the cost of living, particularly for passengers who have been hurt by the mismanagement of former Labor Transport Ministers Annastacia Palaszczuk and Rachel Nolan, who oversaw the hikes.
“Unlike the former Labor government we have a strong plan to improve public transport and revitalise frontline services, creating a brighter future for all passengers.
“Under our policies, a regular weekday two-zone passenger will be paying $1.20 less per journey, saving $750 per year compared to go card prices under Labor.
“A passenger from the Gold or Sunshine Coast will be better off by $4.30 per journey, saving $2,500 per year.
“Unlike Labor who announced its on-going 15 per cent fare hikes shortly after the 2009 budget, we've delivered on our commitment and found the savings to do more.”
This commitment is on top of the successful free travel after nine weekly go card journeys.
Mr Emerson said the budget also revealed public transport patronage is ahead of its target, with 176.7 million trips taken in 2013-14, more than 1 million additional trips than the previous year.
“Fixing affordability is the final plank of our plan to get people back on to public transport," he said.
“We've already taken train reliability from a three-low to an all-time high and added more than 1,000 additional weekly train and 2,000 additional weekly bus services.”

The Queensland Government will deliver $768 million of improvements to the Bruce Highway over the next year as part of our strong plan for a brighter future.

Treasurer Tim Nicholls said being able to fund major infrastructure projects was one of the key reasons the Government had made the strongest and smartest choice to pay down some of the State’s $80 billion debt.

“The 2014-15 State Budget is a careful balance of increases in spending for vital infrastructure projects and frontline services without the need to raise or introduce new taxes,” Mr Nicholls said.

“But to sustainably invest in the infrastructure we’ll need as our state grows we will have to bring Queensland’s debt down to a more sustainable level.”

Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said the record package for the Bruce Highway would be part of the 2014-15 to 2017-18 Queensland Transport and Roads Investment Program (QTRIP). 

“We are now spending twice as much on the Bruce Highway compared with previous Labor governments who chose to ignore this 1700km lifeline,” Mr Emerson said.

“The upcoming program will start delivering our record $10 billion, 10-year deal with the Commonwealth Government to fund safety, flood mitigation and capacity works right across the Bruce Highway and the Gateway Motorway. “This year’s QTRIP will detail new works commencing on the Bruce Highway over the next four years, including:

  • Cooroy to Curra, Section C between Traveston and Keefton Roads
  • Mackay Ring Road, Stage 1
  • Two new interchanges (Sunshine Motorway and Caloundra Road) and adjoining service roads in advance of future 6-laning works
  • Extension of 6-laning between Foster Road and Robert Road, south of Cairns

“We are also continuing to deliver other major upgrades of the Bruce Highway, including Cooroy to Curra Section A, Townsville Ring Road Stage 4, Yeppen Floodplain South, and providing four-laning capacity between Vantassel and Cluden, in Townsville.

“The Bruce Highway funding includes $188 million of state funding in 2014-15, as we deliver our election promise to deliver an additional $1 billion over 10 years.” Funding has also been confirmed for the Gateway Upgrade North, Toowoomba Second Range Crossing and the Warrego Highway Upgrade between Toowoomba and Miles.

Mr Emerson said $130 million had been allocated in 2014-15 to complete repairs to the $150 million of damage from natural disaster events across the state in early 2014, including ex-Tropical Cyclone Ita. “This year we will deliver almost $2 billion in disaster recovery work in a fast tracked effort to get regional communities back up and running,” he said.

Mr Emerson said this budget saw the Queensland Government’s continued investment in rail infrastructure.

“In 2014-15 we are investing $28.7 million towards construction of the third and fourth tracks between Lawnton and Petrie and $25.4 million for the New Generation Rolling Stock project that will deliver 75 new six-car trains,” he said.

Mr Nicholls said the new trains would be delivered at a saving of more than $11 million per train compared to prices achieved by the previous government.

“This project demonstrates the Government’s commitment to revitalise frontline services for Queenslanders as we promised at the election,” he said.

Mr Emerson said the budget showed public transport patronage was ahead of its target, with 176.7 million trips taken in 2013-14, more than 1 million additional trips than in the previous year. “This growth is a positive sign that our plan is working,” he said “In contrast to our efforts to improve affordability, Labor has already said it would scrap free travel after nine weekly journeys, hitting more than 70,000 regular weekday passengers. “Fixing affordability is the final plank of our plan to get people back on to public transport. “We've already taken train reliability from a three-year low to an all-time high and added more than 1,000 additional weekly train and 2,000 additional weekly bus services.”

Background

For the following highways, total planned expenditure for 2014-15 in QTRIP is:

  • Bruce Highway: $768 million
  • Warrego Highway: $179 million
  • Capricorn Highway: $12 million
  • Carnarvon Highway: $10 million
  • Cunningham Highway: $24 million
  • Dawson Highway: $19 million
  • Flinders Highway: $41 million
  • Peak Downs Highway: $21 million
  • Kennedy Highway: $15 million
  • Landsborough Highway: $16 million
  • New England Highway: $7 million
  • Pacific Motorway: $82 million

Queenslanders are being urged to drive safely today as part of Fatality Free Friday.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson joined Brisbanites at the official event pledging their support to drive safely and said the campaign delivered on the election promise to revitalise frontline services.

“Innovative campaigns like this deliver on our strong plan to lower the road toll and ensure a brighter and safer future for Queenslanders,” Mr Emerson said.

“Motorists from Southport to Cairns have been commended for pledging to help keep the state fatality free on Friday.

“Road safety is everybody’s responsibility and today gives us an opportunity to reflect and make a promise to ourselves and our families that we will do everything in our power to drive safely.”

In the lead-up to Fatality Free Friday, the Queensland Government and Australian Road Safety Foundation sent three life-sized pledge cars to 15 locations across Queensland to promote the road safety message and capture safety pledges.

Mr Emerson commended the 2,200 people who pledged during the tour.

“As of today the 2014 road toll sits at 83. While this is 43 less than the same time last year, keeping our road toll low is an ongoing commitment 365 days a year,” he said.

“We would like to see everyone join the drive to save lives by considering their choices on the road to make every day fatality free.”

Police Minister Jack Dempsey said road deaths in every region across the state were down but it was important to remain vigilant.

“I thank all drivers and police for their continued effort in keeping our roads safe,” Mr Dempsey said.

“One life lost on our roads is too many so its vital drivers pay attention to safety initiatives like Fatality Free Friday.”

Anyone who missed out on pledging can visit the official Fatality Free Friday website and continue to make their pledge www.fatalityfreefriday.com throughout the year.

The campaign supports the Queensland Government’sJoin the Drive to Save Lives social change strategy, which encourages community involvement and participation in enhancing road safety. For more information, please go to www.jointhedrive.qld.gov.au

Queensland school children are celebrating three decades of safer road crossings, with the first school crossing supervisor introduced 30 years ago.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson, Minister for Education, Training and Employment John Paul Langbroek and Member for Ipswich Ian Berry celebrated the milestone with Queensland’s longest serving supervisor in Ipswich.

“It was great to congratulate Geoffrey Watson at Ipswich Central State School. Since 1984 Mr Watson has played a crucial role in protecting children as they travel to and from school.” Mr Emerson said.

“Since the scheme has been operating, not a single fatality has occurred at a supervised crossing.

“Making the journey to school as safe as possible is part of our strong plan for a brighter future for Queensland kids.”

Mr Langbroek said safety in and out of the classroom was a top priority for the Newman Government.

“At the start and end of the day, when there is often a lot of excitement, school crossing supervisors play an important role in keeping students safe,” Mr Langbroek said.

“We know for a fact that schools thrive when their communities get involved and school crossing supervisors are often active and engaged locals who are proud to support their schools. 

“I would like to thank and congratulate the many school crossing supervisors who have dedicated their time to keep our children safe and I am pleased to acknowledge Mr Watson, who is one of only 14 supervisors who has been a part of this journey since it started.”

Mr Berry congratulated Mr Watson on this exciting milestone.

“These supervisors play a vital role in our community and not only assist children to safely cross the road, they also educate them on safe road crossing practices,” Mr Berry said.

“The LNP Government is committed to a safer road environment around our schools, demonstrated by our flashing school light initiative.

“There are currently four schools in Ipswich that have received flashing school lights under this program.”

255 schools adopted the School Crossing Supervisor program when it was first launched and there are now 1,210 crossings, staffed by over 1,900 supervisors at 652 Queensland schools.

Supervised school crossings are a partnership between the Queensland Government, local councils and the school community.

Commuters and Ipswich residents will experience the benefits of an active police presence following the construction of a brand new Police Outpost at the Ipswich Railway Station.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson, Police Minister Jack Dempsey and Member for Ipswich Ian Berry inspected the works underway at the station and said it delivered on the Government’s election promise to revitalise frontline services for families.

“Ipswich is an ideal spot as it allows officers to focus on the outer Ipswich and Rosewood line, while the Redbank team can focus on inner Ipswich stations and the Springfield line,” Mr Emerson said.

“The Queensland Government has a strong plan for a brighter future for every passenger and we are delivering this outpost, where Labor wouldn’t, as a part of that plan.

“We are contributing $500,000 to provide a permanent base of operations for officers from the Queensland Police Service Railway Squad in Ipswich.

“The Ipswich police outpost will be the sixth in South East Queensland joining Robina, Roma Street, Manly, Beenleigh and Petrie.”

Police Minister Jack Dempsey said that the Queensland Police Service would contribute officers to ongoing operations at the outpost.

“We promised to revitalise frontline services for families in Ipswich and this outpost will ensure better service delivery for them,” Mr Dempsey said.

“The Ipswich Railway Station outpost will be staffed by six officers including a team-leading Sergeant.

“We have already delivered more than 750 additional police on the beat across Queensland, and we’re ensuring Ipswich has the resources it needs today and into the future.”

Acting Commissioner Brett Pointing said the Railway Squad provided a dedicated visible uniform police presence on the Queensland Rail (QR) City Network to promote passenger and staff safety and security.

“The current strength of the Railway Squad is 66 sworn members, and includes a dedicated Intelligence Unit, Crime Prevention Coordinator and a Firearms Explosive Detection Dog capability,” Acting Commissioner Pointing said.

Member for Ipswich Ian Berry welcomed the announcement as a sign of the Government’s commitment to Ipswich.

“When I was elected in 2012 I committed to Ipswich families that we would revitalise frontline services, where Labor had failed,” Mr Berry said.

“As Member for Ipswich I have worked locally to deliver more police, safer streets, better infrastructure, and the outpost is part of that continued delivery.”

Passengers using the Gold Coast light rail system will be in safe hands as the new Customer Service Officers in charge of safety and security receive their powers of authority today.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson and Member for Southport Rob Molhoek welcomed 18 new officers to the team and today joined them on a test run of the tram network they will be protecting.

“We are committed to tackling anti-social behaviour and fare evasion on public transport and today’s graduation is part of our strong plan for a brighter public transport future,” Mr Emerson said.

“These officers will provide the frontline service that passengers on the tram network will recognise and trust on their daily travels.”

Member for Southport Rob Molhoek said it is great to see all officers graduating today are from the local area.

“We thank GoldLinQ’s commitment to providing local employment,” Mr Molhoek said.

“The new officers will be in charge of revenue protection, safety, security as well as a support to passengers during special events.”

Mr Emerson said this was an exciting milestone which followed eight months of testing the system including training 50 tram drivers.

“The light rail system is in its final phase, which will have the trams running to the operational timetable of 7.5 minutes on peak and 15 minutes off peak,” Mr Emerson said.

“Finishing works for footpaths, landscaping and station fit outs are being completed before passenger services begin.

“The project will revolutionise public transport for the Gold Coast community and get more people out of their cars, easing congestion on the road network.”

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 City of Gold Coast.

Helmet laws will stay in place and no bicycle registration will be required as part of the Queensland Government response to the cycling inquiry.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said he would table the final response detailing support for 50 out 68 recommendations from the Transport, Housing and Local Government Committee’s Inquiry into cycling.

“The recommendations we support demonstrate our strong plan for a brighter future and align with our promise to improve safety for cyclists on our road,” Mr Emerson said.

“Unlike the previous Labor government we promised to do more, particularly given last year there were 13 cyclists who tragically died on our roads, almost double the number of fatalities compared to five years ago.

“The decision to keep helmet laws the same is based on scientific evidence that clearly supports the effectiveness of helmets in reducing head injuries.

“While I agree with freedom of choice, it is not in the public interest to introduce a trial that may increase any risk of head injuries to cyclists.

“The government also supports the committee’s recommendation not to introduce registration for bicycles as the fee would likely deter people from cycling.

“It would also be inconsistent with other jurisdictions in Australia given no other state or territory currently registers bicycles or requires them to have a number plate.

“A recommendation we did not support was to allow a ‘rolling stop’ rule whereby cyclists could treat a stop sign or red light, like a give way sign.

“Not only could this lead to serious injury, we could not support a rule that would see inconsistencies between what motorists and cyclists were allowed to do at a stop sign or red light.”

Mr Emerson said a new campaign to drive behavioural change on our roads would also be developed.

“The share the road campaign will include improving the interaction between cyclists and other road users and is scheduled to be launched later in the year.”

Mr Emerson implemented nine recommendations from the inquiry last month including a two year trial of the one metre rule and bringing fines for cyclists into line with motorists.

The final response will be tabled later today and can be viewed at www.tmr.qld.gov.au/cyclinginquiry