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Cooktown boaties have been enjoying improved access to fishing hot spots following recent upgrades to marine infrastructure, with more work to begin shortly.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson, Member for Cook David Kempton and Cook Shire Council Mayor Peter Scott today announced further funding to upgrade the Charlotte Street wharf while inspecting repair works following ex-tropical Cyclone Ita.

“Cooktown is known for its great fishing and as part of our strong plan for a brighter future we are investing almost $3million on marine infrastructure improvements,” Mr Emerson said.

“Already Cooktown is benefiting from an upgraded boat ramp and new floating walkway and work will soon start on a $642,000 upgrade to the Charlotte Street wharf.

“This upgrade is part of a $3 million package of works for Cooktown that falls under the Marine Infrastructure and Maintenance fund we promised at the election.

“The former Labor government ignored the region’s marine infrastructure but we are improving harbour access for boaties through this upgrade, which should be completed by November.”

Mr Kempton said works had also been fast tracked to repair some damage done to the floating walkway following Cyclone Ita.

“Cooktown is a real draw card for visitors and boaties and we are getting on with the job of repairing the damage to the new floating walkway that was completed in February,” Mr Kempton said.

“The new walkway has been a welcome additional for boaties as they can moor both sides ensuring better access for berthing.

“Commercial and recreational boaties will also benefit from a $1.5 million project to dredge the Endeavour River harbour due to start next month removing about 50,000 cubic metres of material from the harbour and entrance channel.” Mr Scott welcomed the investment, particularly the upgrade to the wharf that will serve the growing recreational boating public for years to come.

“The wharf upgrade will provide a facility for our shire with minimal to no further maintenance required for up to 50 years,” Mr Scott said.

“We also welcome the Queensland government’s decision to hand over responsibility for the maintenance of the Wharf to the Cook Shire Council once the upgrade is complete.

“This is something we have been asking for over a long period of time and we are pleased the government has listened.”

Easing congestion on our roads and making it easier for motorcyclists to ride are the main purposes behind a new discussion paper for Queenslanders to have their say on.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said including lane filtering in the road rules was one of the proposed changes in the Motorcycle discussion paper, which delivered on the Government’s election promise to revitalise frontline services.

“We want to ensure our legislation reflects the reality of how motorcycle riders actually use our road,” Mr Emerson said.

“Labor was happy to bring in motorcycle legislation that was unclear and did not reflect reality, but this discussion paper shows that we have a strong plan for a brighter future.

“Lane filtering is when riders move at low speeds between vehicles that are stopped or moving slowly and is already practiced by some motorcycle riders.

“While it is not banned in Queensland, the rules around lane filtering are not clear.

“Currently if a rider lane filters they could be breaking a number of road rules such as not staying within a marked lane or changing lanes without signalling.

“If lane filtering is introduced, as it will be soon in NSW, it could ease traffic congestion and make the rules clearer for all road users.

“As well as delivering on our promise to revitalise front line services it will also reduce unnecessary red tape.”

Mr Emerson said how a rider sits on a bike and proposed changes to helmet standards is also part of the discussion paper.

“Currently the legislation dictates where riders must have their hands and feet and how they must sit,” he said.

“While the intention of the rule was to prevent reckless and dangerous behaviour it doesn’t take into account the everyday practicalities of riding a motorcycle.

“By broadening the rules it will mean a rider can remove their feet to reverse park or take their hands off the handle to adjust their visor and not be in breach of the law. 

“Under the proposed changes any helmet approved under international standards that meets the same protection as Australian standards will be allowed.”

All road users are encouraged to have their say on these changes by filling out the online survey at www.getinvolved.qld.gov.au

Honest public transport users will benefit from savings of more than $200,000 per year after changes were made to the refundable deposit on adult go cards.
In May 2013, the refundable deposit on adult go cards was increased from $5 to $10 to close a loophole that saw people deliberately running the balance below $5 and then disposing of the card.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said the savings would be reinvested back into the public transport network.
“Queensland passengers are reaping the benefits from the Queensland Government’s efforts to fix Labor’s public transport mess,” Mr Emerson said.
“Since we increased the refundable deposit to $10 there are now 20 per cent less cards falling below the negative threshold, particularly on the Airport line.
“Research showed thousands of people across the network misused their go card by running their balance below the $5 deposit and then disposing of the card.
“Savings from closing this loophole will be reinvested back into the network.”
The loophole that led to rorting of the system grew when the former Labor Government reduced the go card deposit in December 2009 – before the first of their five scheduled 15 per cent fare increases.
“We’ve halved Labor’s increases, provided free travel after nine weekly journeys and have added more than 1,000 additional weekly train services and 2,000 additional weekly bus services,” Mr Emerson said.
“For the first time ever we have released daily on-time running figures showing reliability continues to improve.
“All day on-time running was more than 95 per cent in the January to March quarter, compared to more than 88 per cent during the last few months under Labor and former Transport Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk.
“This performance improvement has been due to efforts of Queensland Rail staff.
Quarter
On time services (24/7)*
Jan-Mar 2012
88.54%
Apr-Jun 2012
89.59%
July-Sept 2012
89.25%
Oct-Dec 2012
92.38%
Jan-Mar 2013
90.61%
Apr-Jun 2013
94.80%
July-Sept 2013
95.15%
Oct-Dec 2013
94.84%
Jan-Mar 2014
95.43%
* Within 3.59 of the timetable, and 5.59mins for Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast services

LEND Lease Engineering has secured the third and final contract for works to complete the Bruce Highway’s $590 million Cooroy to Curra Section A upgrade.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss was on-site today to announce the awarding of the contract for the project.

“Lend Lease Engineering is already gearing up for the works between the Cooroy Southern Interchange and Cudgerie Drive,” Mr Truss said.

“The Australian Government is committed to fixing the Bruce Highway – making it safer, more reliable and capable of handling high traffic volumes, and this project an example of the work to come.

“We are getting on with the job of delivering vital infrastructure projects that will benefit all Australians and, in this case, give Queensland the modern highway it desperately needs.”

Queensland Minister for Transport and Main Roads Scott Emerson said the Australian and Queensland governments were working to bring the Bruce Highway up to a satisfactory standard.

“The Cooroy Southern Interchange to Cudgerie Drive contract announced today will duplicate the six kilometre Cooroy bypass and deliver two lanes in each direction, doubling the highway’s capacity,” Mr Emerson said.

“This project is another example of how we are keeping to our election promise of delivering better planning and better infrastructure.

“Additionally, new bridges will be built over Six Mile Creek and the existing Cooroy Southern Interchange will be upgraded.”

The Australian and Queensland governments have each committed $295 million to the Cooroy to Curra Section A project, which is expected to be complete by late 2016.

Passengers will receive a boost to public transport frequency when the Queensland Government adds three more high frequency routes to the Gold Coast, when light rail begins.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said passengers travelling on the Gold Coast will experience improved connections between trains, buses and trams.
“Rather than duplicate buses along the light rail route we will be using our resources smarter by increasing the number of east west bus routes,” Mr Emerson said.
“These changes are all part of our election promise to revitalise frontline services through improving frequency, reliability and affordability of the network.
“The high frequency routes 709, 740 and 777 will run every 15 minutes from Helensvale Station to Griffith University, Surfers Paradise to Nerang and the Airport to Burleigh Heads and Broadbeach.
“These routes will make it easier for passengers to connect with the major light rail hubs at Gold Coast University Hospital/Griffith University, Southport, Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach South stations.
“Fifteen existing routes will also be extended from Pacific Fair to Broadbeach South station providing passengers with an easy connection to light rail services, seven days a week.
“These changes include minor timetable adjustments and so we encourage all passengers to check the TransLink website for the most up-to-date service information.”
Mr Emerson said light rail was on track to commence by mid-year.
“Testing is underway and services will commence once the safety experts are satisfied and complete their assessment of the system,” he said.
“When complete the trams will be able to move more than 300 people, every seven-and-a-half minutes, to Southport, Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach.
“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.”
For more information on the changes visit www.translink.com.au or phone 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 Gold Coast City Council.

The Queensland Government has welcomed confirmation from the Federal Government that it will meet its responsibility to fund key Queensland transport infrastructure projects.

Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney, and Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said the Commonwealth funding commitments follow 12 months of intense lobbying from the Queensland Government to make the state’s roads safer.

“Last night’s Federal road funding announcements are the culmination of a long battle waged by Queensland’s LNP going back to our days in Opposition,” Mr Seeney said.

“The proper funding of critical roads like the Bruce Highway, Gateway North, the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing, and the Warrego Highway would never have happened if Labor was in government in Queensland.

“We promised to deliver better infrastructure and planning and last night’s federal budget confirms that we are doing just that by effectively advocating for Queenslanders.”

Major projects that had funding confirmed in last night’s Federal budget, included:

  • $6.7 billion for the Bruce Highway
  • $1 billion for the Gateway Upgrade North
  • $1.3 billion for the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing
  • $508 million for the Warrego Highway.

Mr Emerson said the funding would deliver more capacity, safety and flood mitigation projects across Queensland.

“This time last year, the then federal Labor Government left Queensland in limbo with several crucial projects at risk because of their move away from the traditional 80-20 funding split,” Mr Emerson said.

“We’ve come a long way since then to secure a good deal for Queensland roads.

“Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss and his team have kept their promise to fund their share on national highways and assist us in our efforts to make our roads safer.

“This budget reaffirms that these projects are secure with a proper funding model.”

Speeding won’t be tolerated in the practical driving test currently being piloted at seven different locations across Queensland.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said the pilot was part of a package of driver license reforms announced by the Queensland Government last year.
“While the former Labor Government was satisfied to allow learner drivers to speed and still pass their test, we have a zero tolerance for speeding,” Mr Emerson said.
“Through these licence reforms we are continuing our efforts to improve road safety and keep our election promise to revitalise frontline services.
“Given drivers aged 17-24 are over-represented in the road toll, these changes aim to better prepare our young drivers and keep them safe on the road.
“Speeding is a significant contributing factor in crashes among younger drivers and, just like it is against the law to speed above the designated limit, it has been strictly applied to pilot test candidates.”
Mr Emerson said this was the first time in 15 years that major changes had been made to the Q-SAFE driver tests and included a greater emphasis on high-risk manoeuvres.
“Merging at higher speeds and turning across on-coming traffic are considered a higher focus of the pilot with a lower emphasis on skills like reverse parking,” he said.
“More significance has been placed on maintaining an appropriate following distance and more detailed feedback to the candidate at the end of the test is also part of the changes.”
The driver training industry has been consulted during development of the pilot, and will continue to be consulted, throughout the pilot.
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.

       Passengers will be the winners under a plan to extend staff hours at four Brisbane rail stations.

       Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said the Queensland Government would also end Labor’s practice of having stations open when there were no    trains or passengers.

       “We made an election promise to revitalise frontline services and these changes will expand our customer service at four busy rail stations,” Mr Emerson said.

       “Corinda, Ferny Grove, Indooroopilly and Yeerongpilly stations will now be staffed to assist passengers from the first to last service Monday to Saturday.

       “Sunday shifts will remain the same.

       “The seven stations, which are currently staffed when there are no trains between midnight and 4am will remain staffed from first to last service, seven days a      week.”

       Overnight security patrols will still operate at the seven stations.

       Mr Emerson said the plan would continue the government’s focus on frontline services, including having Queensland Rail staff more visible on platform and  assisting passengers with boarding to maintain on-time running.

       “We won’t be reducing the number of staff, rather we are using our resources smarter, allowing more stations to remain open for longer,” he said.

       “Recent surveys have shown that overall satisfaction on the City network had increased to the highest level ever achieved by Queensland Rail.”

       Police, transit officers, security guards and mobile dog patrols operate across the Queensland Rail network in addition to more than 8,000 CCTV cameras and help phones.

       Changes will start from Monday 19 May.

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More than 3,000 Queenslanders have given their feedback to help shape the design of the once-in-a generation Bus and Train (BaT) Tunnel project.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said it was pleasing to see so many people having their say on the draft design of the project that will revolutionise public transport and create more than 18,000 full-time jobs in Brisbane.

“We wanted as many people as possible to provide their feedback, so it was great to have more than 3,000 people provide their thoughts during March and April,” Mr Emerson said.

“This government promised to deliver better planning and better infrastructure and this project is a perfect example of this.

“As well as written and online submissions, seven community information sessions were held with more than 300 people in attendance.

An online ‘BaT’ chat session garnered more than one hundred interactions and the BaT project website had almost 10,000 unique visits during the consultation period.

“Many residents also visited information displays at various Brisbane City Council libraries and the State Library.”

Mr Emerson said the draft reference design was an important step in the planning process for the vital infrastructure project.

“The comments and feedback from residents, stakeholders and industry will help to shape the project’s final reference design,” he said.

“Now, we will analyse the feedback received and consider any community impacts and issues raised and following this some refinements may be made to the design.”

The final reference design and environmental impact statement are expected to be available for public comment later this year.

The BaT project is a world-first design, which will create combining a railway and busway in a single, double-decked, 15-metre-wide tunnel beneath the Brisbane River and central business district.

The project is due to be completed in 2020 and operational in 2021.

For more information visit www.qld.gov.au/batproject

Queensland Rail passengers and local residents living near Roma St station will have late night access to Platform 10 under a trial aimed at improving safety at night.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said a six-month trial, beginning next Monday, would give residents access from the Parklands side of the station until 11pm, delivering on the election promise to revitalise frontline services.

“A Queensland Rail staff member would be stationed at the Platform 10 fare gates,” Mr Emerson said.

“Passengers currently have to walk the streets around the station after 8 pm, when Platform 10 closes, causing the community to raise safety concerns.

“However, following community feedback we promised to look at options to keep that side of Roma Street station open.

“I’m pleased Queensland Rail has been able to keep the entrance open for three extra hours at night.”

The entrance is normally closed at 8pm to coincide with the final long distance regional travel service.

Mr Emerson said we would evaluate the success of the trial over the coming months.

“Passenger movements and customer feedback will be monitored and reviewed at the end of the trial to establish whether it is a success,” Mr Emerson said.

“We will continue to work with transit officers, security guards and in partnership with our dedicated Police Railway Squad as well as monitor our more than 8,000 CCTV cameras to help keep the station and our wider network safe.”

Passengers are welcome to provide feedback about the trial to Queensland Rail’s Customer Feedback team by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or calling 13 16 17.