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Regional Queenslanders can expect improved flights and passenger services, with the Government calling for expressions of interest from air carriers interested in operating seven regulated regional air routes from 1 January 2015.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said the Invitation to Offer documentation is available online and delivers on key election commitments.

“We promised at the election to revitalise frontline services and we want the best value for money while still delivering quality air services to regional communities,” Mr Emerson said.

“We are also seeking innovative solutions to ensure these routes remain viable and aim to increase patronage growth in the coming years.

“The documentation outlines criteria that interested organisations must satisfy to be considered for contracts on these regulated air routes.

“Contracts on offer are for a period up to seven years.”

Mr Emerson said regulated contracts would be available on the following air routes, starting January 1, 2015:

• Brisbane-Toowoomba-St George-Cunnamulla-Thargomindah

• Brisbane-Toowoomba-Charleville-Quilpie-Windorah, Birdsville, Bedourie, Boulia and Mt Isa

• Cairns-Normanton-Gununa-Burketown-Doomadgee-Mount Isa

• Townsville-Winton-Longreach

• Townsville-Hughenden-Richmond-Julia Creek-Mt Isa

• Brisbane-Roma-Charleville

• Brisbane-Blackall-Barcaldine-Longreach

“There has been strong interest from the aviation industry during recent briefings in Brisbane and Townsville,” he said.

Interested companies should log-on to the Queensland Government’s QTender website, download the Invitation to Offer (ITO) documents and submit them prior to the closing date on June 6.

In February 2014, the Queensland Government announced three regional air routes would be opened up for competition in 2015, an outcome of the long-distance passenger service review.

For more information, visit http://www.tmr.qld.gov.au/regionalconnect

Renewing your driver’s licence at a Transport and Main Roads centre is quicker and easier according to latest Queensland Government Quarterly Update results.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said five minutes had been shaved off the average wait times at TMR Customer Service Centres in the past two years as part of our election promise to revitalise front line services.
“Under our government Queenslanders are waiting less to access simple services like renewing a drivers’ licence or paying car registration,” Mr Emerson said.
“In two years we have turned around Labor’s poor record on customer service wait times by almost 40 per cent.
“We are providing a quicker service with average customer wait times reduced from 11 minutes per person in January to March 2011 to 7 minutes in the same period this year.
“March 2014 had an even better average result of 5 mins and 42 seconds.
“We have achieved this by cutting unnecessary red tape, increasing training for staff and introducing new technology to speed up the time it takes to get served.”
Mr Emerson said we have also worked hard to offer Queenslanders more online options than ever before.
“Online we now offer access to an e-form for Medical Condition Reporting, infringement payment services, and options to obtain unregistered vehicle permits,” he said.
“Queenslanders can now access these services online instead of having to go in and wait at a customer service centre.
“In the coming months people will also be able to check their demerit points and traffic history online, as well as replace their driver licence.”
Mr Emerson also commended service centre staff for their dedicated efforts to improve service times and efficiency.
“Staff at the Ipswich, Greenslopes and Cairns centres in particular have shown considerable reductions in wait times for their customers and I’d like to thank all our staff for their ongoing commitment to providing the best service possible to the state.”
For more information on what’s available for transport customers, please visit www.tmr.qld.gov.au

Queenslanders can now book to ride the 60-year-old Sunlander train for its final service on New Year’s Eve before it retires, making way for the state-of-the-art Spirit of Queensland trains.

Transport and Main Roads Scott Emerson Minister said tickets are now on sale for passengers interested in being part of history.

“Tickets are expected to sell fast for the Sunlander’s final journey along the Queensland coastline between Brisbane and Cairns,” Mr Emerson said.

“The retirement of the Sunlander train is the end of an era for Queensland Rail andwe can celebrate one of Australia’s longest running and most spectacular rail journeys.

“Long distance passenger services from Brisbane to Cairns are changing as a result of our $200 million investment to build and refurbish three Spirit of Queensland trains, keeping our election promise to revitalise frontline services.”

Mr Emerson said the Sunlander train service had provided more than 3 million passengers with a unique rail journey.

“The final service Sunlander train will make its departure travelling northbound from Brisbane to Cairns on Sunday, December 28 and will return southbound Cairns to Brisbane for its official final journey on Wednesday, December 31,” Mr Emerson said.

“We are also running special historical departures with Queensland Rail historian Greg Hallam on selected dates, sharing with passengers some of our most memorable stories since the Sunlander was first introduced in 1953.

“The first Spirit of Queensland joined Queensland Rail’s fleet in October 2013, with two additional units in service before the Sunlander’s retirement in December.

“TheSpirit of Queenslandfleet will include state-of-the-art rail-bed seating and entertainment, along with a high speed, smooth and comfortable ride.”

For more information or to book online visit www.queenslandrailtravel.com.au/sunlanderfarewell or call 1300 655 826.

Road and air travel in Western Queensland will be safer as a result of funding from Round Three of the Queensland Government’s $495 million Royalties for the Regions program.

Minister for Transport and Main Roads Scott Emerson today announced $4.8 million in funding for the Barcaldine and Blackall-Tambo Regional Council’s at the Local Government Association of Queensland Conference in Tambo.

“The Royalties for Regions program delivers on the LNP Government’s promise to improve infrastructure and boost economic growth, particularly in Queensland’s regions,” Mr Emerson said.

“This program directs royalties earned by the resources sector back into critical community infrastructure in regional Queensland, improving services and quality of life for people in the bush.

“Investing in regional transport infrastructure is an investment in the future of economic growth in our regions.

“Today, on behalf of the Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney, I’m pleased to announce that the Barcaldine Regional Council will receive $4.32 million to upgrade the Eastmere Road north-east of Barcaldine, and the Blackall-Tambo Regional Council will receive $495,000 to improve facilities at the Blackall Airport.

“Regional centres such as Barcaldine and Blackall are fast becoming hubs for significant resource projects, and we are pleased to be able to partner with local councils to upgrade infrastructure for the benefit of local residents, tourists and business people.”

Mr Emerson said the $4.6 million road rehabilitation project allowed for the realignment and resealing of nearly 29 kilometres of Eastmere Road, north-east of Barcaldine.

“The region’s primary industries and resource sectors are dependent on this busy stretch of road which has become degraded because of high volumes of traffic,” he said.

“At Blackall, current airport infrastructure is no longer adequate to meet demand as the town becomes a hub for regional resource projects.

“The installation of a new fuel storage and refuelling system, and runway and taxi lights will cater for extra passengers and meet Civil Aviation Safety Authority standards.”

Barcaldine Regional Shire Mayor Rob Chandler said the funding for Eastmere Road would be welcomed by locals and new resource road users.

“This funding will significantly improve safety and vehicle efficiency for local residents and other motorists, including heavy vehicles associated with mining activities in the region,” Mr Chandler said.

“This is the main arterial for linking Lake Dunn and Lake Galilee, as well as a route further east to the proposed Adani Mine and Clermont.”

Blackall-Tambo Shire Mayor Councillor Barry Muir said his Council was grateful for the improvements that Royalties for the Regions funding will support at the Blackall airport.

“This funding will make our airport a safer set down point for all manner of aircraft, which includes Flying Doctor flights many times per week,” Mr Muir said.

“The refuelling facility will save time and money for the RFDS in that they won't have to set down in other towns to refuel prior to picking up patients from Blackall, not to mention shortening the time for patient evacuations.

“As most patient evacuations are mainly night time emergencies, the lighting upgrade is paramount for safety and we are very appreciative of all aspects of the funding for overall air safety to our region.

“With imminent mining operations around Alpha, the refuelling facility will ensure there will be adequate set down points for possible fly in-fly out operations to help service the needs of mines in the Central Western area.

“It will also allow commercial flights to be refuelled on the Longreach route if headwinds drain a plane's endurance and have had to divert to Emerald or Roma to ensure safety.”

The Queensland Government would finalise other successful Royalties for the Regions Round Three applications in coming weeks with more than 23 council projects expected to share in this round’s allocations.

To date more than 39 councils across Queensland have received more than $250 million in funding under the program, delivering much needed roads, community infrastructure and flood mitigation projects.

For more information about the Queensland Government’s Royalties for the Regions program visit http://www.qld.gov.au/royalties

Road and air travel in Western Queensland will be safer as a result of funding from Round Three of the Queensland Government’s $495 million Royalties for the Regions program.

Minister for Transport and Main Roads Scott Emerson today announced $4.8 million in funding for the Barcaldine and Blackall-Tambo Regional Council’s at the Local Government Association of Queensland Conference in Tambo.

“The Royalties for Regions program delivers on the LNP Government’s promise to improve infrastructure and boost economic growth, particularly in Queensland’s regions,” Mr Emerson said.

“This program directs royalties earned by the resources sector back into critical community infrastructure in regional Queensland, improving services and quality of life for people in the bush.

“Investing in regional transport infrastructure is an investment in the future of economic growth in our regions.

“Today, on behalf of the Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney, I’m pleased to announce that the Barcaldine Regional Council will receive $4.32 million to upgrade the Eastmere Road north-east of Barcaldine, and the Blackall-Tambo Regional Council will receive $495,000 to improve facilities at the Blackall Airport.

“Regional centres such as Barcaldine and Blackall are fast becoming hubs for significant resource projects, and we are pleased to be able to partner with local councils to upgrade infrastructure for the benefit of local residents, tourists and business people.”

Mr Emerson said the $4.6 million road rehabilitation project allowed for the realignment and resealing of nearly 29 kilometres of Eastmere Road, north-east of Barcaldine.

“The region’s primary industries and resource sectors are dependent on this busy stretch of road which has become degraded because of high volumes of traffic,” he said.

“At Blackall, current airport infrastructure is no longer adequate to meet demand as the town becomes a hub for regional resource projects.

“The installation of a new fuel storage and refuelling system, and runway and taxi lights will cater for extra passengers and meet Civil Aviation Safety Authority standards.”

Barcaldine Regional Shire Mayor Rob Chandler said the funding for Eastmere Road would be welcomed by locals and new resource road users.

“This funding will significantly improve safety and vehicle efficiency for local residents and other motorists, including heavy vehicles associated with mining activities in the region,” Mr Chandler said.

“This is the main arterial for linking Lake Dunn and Lake Galilee, as well as a route further east to the proposed Adani Mine and Clermont.”

Blackall-Tambo Shire Mayor Councillor Barry Muir said his Council was grateful for the improvements that Royalties for the Regions funding will support at the Blackall airport.

“This funding will make our airport a safer set down point for all manner of aircraft, which includes Flying Doctor flights many times per week,” Mr Muir said.

“The refuelling facility will save time and money for the RFDS in that they won't have to set down in other towns to refuel prior to picking up patients from Blackall, not to mention shortening the time for patient evacuations.

“As most patient evacuations are mainly night time emergencies, the lighting upgrade is paramount for safety and we are very appreciative of all aspects of the funding for overall air safety to our region.

“With imminent mining operations around Alpha, the refuelling facility will ensure there will be adequate set down points for possible fly in-fly out operations to help service the needs of mines in the Central Western area.

“It will also allow commercial flights to be refuelled on the Longreach route if headwinds drain a plane's endurance and have had to divert to Emerald or Roma to ensure safety.”

The Queensland Government would finalise other successful Royalties for the Regions Round Three applications in coming weeks with more than 23 council projects expected to share in this round’s allocations.

To date more than 39 councils across Queensland have received more than $250 million in funding under the program, delivering much needed roads, community infrastructure and flood mitigation projects.

For more information about the Queensland Government’s Royalties for the Regions program visit http://www.qld.gov.au/royalties

Key flood mitigation works on the Bruce Highway will be stepped up in the coming months as part of the Queensland Government’s Bruce Highway “Out of the Crisis” Action Plan.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson today inspected the Vantassel Street to Cluden upgrade in Townsville, aimed at flood proofing an important section of the highway.

“A serious weather event like Cyclone Ita reinforces the importance of delivering projects like this one, as we work to bring the Bruce Highway up to a satisfactory standard,” Mr Emerson said.

“More than $1 billion in flood works are currently underway and works are on track despite the recent flooding and rain from Cyclone Ita.

“After years of neglect by the former Labor Government we are delivering our promised additional $1 billion in funding over 10 years for better safety, flood mitigation and capacity upgrades to this 1,700km lifeline.”

In October 2012, the Newman Government released the Bruce Highway Action Plan – a 10-year blueprint to upgrade the Bruce Highway. This formed the basis for a 10-year $10 billion package of works with the Abbott Government.

Mr Emerson said works on the $137 million, seven-kilometre Vantassel Street to Cluden site was on track to be completed by mid-2015.

“Works on the rail overpass near Abbott Street and the new Stuart Creek bridge are underway,” he said.

“From mid next month, motorists will see more activity on the highway as we start to move traffic to new and temporary traffic lanes, particularly around Abbott Street and Lakeside Drive.”

The project is jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland governments, with the Australian Government contributing $110 million and the Queensland Government contributing $27.5 million.

War veterans travelling to and from ANZAC Day events on Friday 25 April will receive free travel on any South East Queensland transport service.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said war veterans wearing uniform or service medals could travel free on any South East Queensland bus, train or ferry service.

“This is an important day for all Australians and we hope free travel will make it easier for people to attend special events and ceremonies to pay their respect,” Mr Emerson said.

“Free travel is also extended to family members wearing the medals of servicemen and women who are marching on behalf of veterans as well as Girls’ Brigade, Boys’ Brigade, Scouts and military cadets.”

Mr Emerson said more than 40 additional bus and train services would operate on Anzac Day.

“Additional early morning bus and train services will be available for anyone attending the 4.28am dawn service at ANZAC Square in the Brisbane CBD,” he said.

“Early-morning buses will operate on a number of routes departing from Eight Mile Plains, Browns Plains, Chermside, Aspley Hypermarket, Waterworks Road and Moggill.

“Extra trains will run on the Beenleigh, Caboolture, Cleveland, Ferny Grove, Gold Coast, Ipswich/Rosewood, Shorncliffe, Springfield and Sunshine Coast lines.

“Passengers should allow a little extra time when travelling as some regular bus services may be affected by road closures for ANZAC Day events.”

Many public transport services across South East Queensland will operate to a Sunday or public holiday timetable on ANZAC Day

Check the times of additional bus and train services before travelling by visiting www.translink.com.au or phone 13 12 30, anytime.

A new late-night taxi pick-up zone will provide a safer place to wait for a cab on the Sunshine Coast.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson and Member for Maroochydore Fiona Simpson said the new taxi zone would be trialled for 12 months alongside the new Maroochydore Bus Station.

“Under the trial, pre-booked taxis will now pick up passengers between 10pm and 4am on Friday and Saturday nights from the new Maroochydore Bus Station,” Mr Emerson said.

“It made sense to utilise the new bus station’s facilities after Fiona raised concerns with me about the lack of security at the taxi stop outside the TAFE campus.

“This trial is another way the Newman Government is keeping its promise to deliver frontline services to Queenslanders and ensuring they get home safely.

“The trial will commence on Friday 30 May.”

Ms Simpson welcomed the trial that would improve safety over the weekend.

“This new taxi zone will ensure people can wait in an area with plenty of lighting and CCTV,” Ms Simpson said.

“Pre-booked taxis will stop on the new station’s northbound platform, in front of Sunshine Plaza and there will be clear signage advising exactly where to wait for a taxi.

“Anyone enjoying a night out at local venues need only walk a short distance to the bus station and then have the choice to either catch one of the hourly late-night buses on route 600 or catch a taxi.

“If you haven’t pre-booked, taxis will remain available from the existing rank on Ocean Street.”

Mr Emerson said as part of the trial, taxis would no longer service the taxi stop area outside the TAFE campus from 10pm to 4am on Friday and Saturday.

“Taxis will also not service the southbound bus station platform (near Hungry Jack’s),” he said.

TransLink will work with industry groups including Sunbus and Suncoast Cabs prior to implementation.

For more information, visit www.translink.com.au or phone 13 12 30, anytime.

Queensland motorists are being congratulated for staying safe on the roads over the Easter period maintaining one of the lowest road tolls on record.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said over the Easter long weekend there were three fatalities, one less than the same time last year.

“While I congratulate motorists for driving safely over the weekend, any death on our roads is a tragedy and we urge motorists to remain vigilant,” Mr Emerson said.

“Through the hard work of police and the LNP Government’s $350 million, two-year Road Safety Action Plan, the state’s road toll is 60 - four less than the same time in 2010, making it the lowest road toll on record.

“With another long weekend coming up and students returning to school this week we are urging all motorists to remember the fatal five and stay safe on the roads.”

Mr Emerson said the Government would continue to drive down the road toll through the Join the Drive campaign.

“Over the Easter period our Join the Drive to Save Lives campaign targeted drivers’ attitudes towards speeding,” he said,

“Speed contributes to more than one in five road deaths in Queensland, making it one of the biggest killers on our roads.

“Low level speeding, which is less than seven kilometres per hour over the limit, contributes to half of all speeding deaths.

“We urge all motorists to slow down by allowing plenty of time to get your destination so you avoid the temptation to rush.”

For more information about Join the Drive, visit www.qld.gov.au/jointhedrive

Queensland motorists are being congratulated for staying safe on the roads over the Easter period maintaining one of the lowest road tolls on record.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said over the Easter long weekend there were three fatalities, one less than the same time last year.

“While I congratulate motorists for driving safely over the weekend, any death on our roads is a tragedy and we urge motorists to remain vigilant,” Mr Emerson said.

“Through the hard work of police and the LNP Government’s $350 million, two-year Road Safety Action Plan, the state’s road toll is 60 - four less than the same time in 2010, making it the lowest road toll on record.

“With another long weekend coming up and students returning to school this week we are urging all motorists to remember the fatal five and stay safe on the roads.”

Mr Emerson said the Government would continue to drive down the road toll through the Join the Drive campaign.

“Over the Easter period our Join the Drive to Save Lives campaign targeted drivers’ attitudes towards speeding,” he said,

“Speed contributes to more than one in five road deaths in Queensland, making it one of the biggest killers on our roads.

“Low level speeding, which is less than seven kilometres per hour over the limit, contributes to half of all speeding deaths.

“We urge all motorists to slow down by allowing plenty of time to get your destination so you avoid the temptation to rush.”

For more information about Join the Drive, visit www.qld.gov.au/jointhedrive