Land deal a win for community
The University of Queensland has secured a site at Long Pocket, Indooroopilly, after striking a deal with the State Government.
Member for Indooroopilly Scott Emerson said this deal was a win for the local community as it would ensure minimal pressure on the local road network.
“I have been advocating strongly for this deal ever since the former Labor Government was proposing to sell the land at 80 Meiers Road, Indooroopilly,” Mr Emerson said.
“My biggest concern with any residential development on this land would have been the added congestion it would bring to Meiers Road, Harts Road and Indooroopilly Road.
“I believe residents will be pleased with this outcome given UQ has already been using the site and it will mean no extra pressure on our local roads.
“While the site will be occupied and managed by UQ, it will be subject to the usual Brisbane City Council development approvals.
“I thank Minister Cripps for his work on securing this agreement which will see the Long Pocket site now dedicated as research space for the university.”
Natural Resources and Mines Minister Andrew Cripps said the State Government and UQ signed off on the land swap this month.
“UQ has agreed to a 99 year lease on the Long Pocket site and they will hand over the land at 200 Turbot St to the State Government.
“Given the new UQ Oral Health Centre is due to open at Herston later this year, UQ no longer required the land at 200 Turbot St so it made sense to make this land swap.
“As part of the land swap UQ has until early 2014 to move over to the new site allowing sufficient time to relocate the dental hospital to new facilities under construction at Herston.”
Queensland accepts Abbott’s Gateway deal
The Newman Government will accept a deal to deliver an upgraded 12.3 kilometre section of the Gateway Motorway if the Federal Opposition is elected in September.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott today received a birds-eye view of south east Queensland’s Federal roads with Premier Campbell Newman and Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson at Brisbane’s Metropolitan Traffic Management Centre.
“A Coalition Government will kick-start funding of the Gateway Motorway upgrade with a $1 billion commitment,” Mr Abbott said.
“Inadequate road infrastructure and traffic congestion are having a negative impact on the productivity of Brisbane and south east Queensland.
“Parents are away from their families for longer and businesses and consumers are paying more in transportation costs.
“The upgrade of the Gateway Motorway will reduce congestion and improve road safety on the Motorway.
“It will also expand capacity of the Motorway to cater for the strong population growth that has been occurring in South East Queensland.”
Mr Newman said the return to an 80-20 funding split for the Federal road network would ensure work could start on the $1.3 billion section next year.
“This is a priority project for south east Queensland because of issues we face with congestion and safety on the northern section of the Gateway,” Mr Newman said.
“Motoring bodies regularly rate this as one of the worst sections of road in Queensland and the cause of major delays and a burden on the economy.”
Mr Emerson said the proposal would widen the motorway from four to six lanes from Nudgee to the Deagon Deviation.
“We’ve been battling to get a fair deal for Queensland’s Federal roads,” Mr Emerson said.
“This funding means there won’t be a need to delay construction and we can rule out the option of tolling in order to fund the state’s share of the road.”
New technology makes finding a JP even easier
Local residents can now find nearby Justices of the Peace (JP) or Commissioners for Declarations (C.decs) with just a tap of their finger, thanks to a newly developed mobile website application.
Member for Indooroopilly, Scott Emerson MP said the new technology would give the community even easier access to local JPs in their community.
The new application will also help keep Indooroopilly’s 939 JPs and C.decs updated with important information about their role.
“People are increasingly using technology such as smart phones and tablet computers to find information and access services when they are on the move,” Mr Emerson said.
“The new mobile website will help people find a JP wherever they may be, using the latest in hand-held technology.
“The application integrates an online database of JPs with Google Maps technology to connect people with their nearest JP, or a “JPs in the Community” signing site, when they need one.
“Using this technology means local residents will have even greater access to their local justice system.”
Mr Emerson said the web app was launched at the Law Week open day last weekend.
“Justices of the Peace play an important role in the community and can help witness documents such as statutory declarations, affidavits and certify copies of original documents,” he said.
“Indooroopilly Justices of the Peace are also encouraged to use the new mobile website to keep their details current, register for workshops, view technical bulletins or subscribe to relevant emails.”
The application is easily accessed from www.justice.qld.gov.au/jpapp on either smart phones or tablets.
For more information about becoming a Justice of the Peace (Qualified) or Commissioner for Declarations, visit www.justice.qld.gov.au/justice-services/justices-of-the-peace.
License reform for Queensland drivers
Better educated younger drivers and changes for older drivers are included in a package of driver license reforms which have been recommended by some of Queensland’s leading road safety experts and will be implemented by the Newman Government
Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said the Queensland Driver Licence Reform package included changes to the Q-SAFE driver tests, older driver medical certificates and motorcycle license tests.
“This reform is an important step in our efforts to make our roads safer and tackle the current high road toll,” Mr Emerson said.
“There is a focus on ensuring our younger drivers are better prepared and educated as they are the most at-risk group when it comes to fatalities on our roads. Last year 84 young drivers were involved in fatal crashes – five ahead of the previous year.
“For the first time in 15 years we will be making changes to the Q-SAFE program, which will now include a greater emphasis on high-risk manoeuvres such as turning across on-coming traffic or merging at higher speeds.”
The pilot for the new test is expected to be in place by mid-2014.
Mr Emerson said the package also included changes for older drivers with medical certificates now valid for a 12-month period for drivers aged 75 and over.
“The committee felt an annual tick from their doctor would enable older drivers to monitor their health on a more regular basis and therefore improve road safety outcomes,” he said.
“We have found older drivers are not over represented in crashes and I agree with the panel that there isn’t a need to sit further driving tests once you reach 75.
“I believe this is a sensible change to protect older drivers, particularly as the population gets older.”
Other key reforms include:
- Adopting a simplified, national definition for high-powered vehicles manufactured after 1 January, 2010.
- Education and awareness information to support older drivers, their families and their doctor
- The process to upgrade from a P1 licence will also be streamlined.
The reforms will investigate improvements to the motorcycle test for new riders, including compulsory pre-learner off-road training and assessment.
“In the past we’ve seen some tragic accidents from young motorcycle riders. This will focus on requirements to undertake practical on and off road assessment aimed at improving rider skill and experience,” he said.
All license reforms underwent community consultation in 2012. Full recommendations will be available at www.tmr.qld.gov.au. The Queensland Driver Licence Reform will be implemented progressively in 2013 and 2014.
Next Riverside Expressway closure underway
An overnight preparation lift of a span of Brisbane’s Riverside Expressway will take place next week before the second group of pot bearings are replaced next month.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said the expressway work was required to replace 40-year-old pot bearings.
“We replaced the pot bearings on the first span, near Margaret St last year and tests showed some corrosion and the need to replace all the pot bearings,” Mr Emerson said.
“Since the first lift engineers have redesigned the pot bearings to reduce installation time and improved the jacking control system used to raise the deck, to increase reliability.”
The expressway will be closed inbound from 9pm on Friday, May 24 until 9am on Saturday, May 25 between the Margaret St off-ramp and Ann St on-ramp. The Alice St westbound on-ramp and Margaret St southbound off-ramp will also be closed.
“The expressway will be lifted in preparation for bearing replacement works next month,” Mr Emerson said.
“There will be a full closure of the expressway from 28 June to 1 July to complete the bearing replacement on this section of the Riverside Expressway.
“We will make every effort to reduce the impact on motorists and that’s why we’re working around Brisbane’s busy major event schedule.”
The pot bearings are steel bearings bolted to the structure to transfer loads from the deck to the foundations and to allow for movement.
To replace the pot bearings, the decks need to be jacked up about 200mm to allow the old bearings to be unbolted and the new bearings to be fitted.
The existing pot bearings were installed when the Riverside Expressway was built and the new bearings will more effectively resist corrosion and last longer than the original bearings.
For up to date traffic and travel information, visit www.131940.qld.gov.au or call the Transport and Main Roads Traffic Report Line on 131940.
Train transport package a win for rural Queensland
The Newman Government will deliver a major win for Queensland farmers with a significant investment in rail infrastructure on the Darling Downs.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson and Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Minister John McVeigh said up to $50 million in savings would be reinvested in additional passing loops across the Toowoomba Range.
“This will transform the way crops are transported from the Darling Downs,” Mr Emerson said.
“It is a fabulous win for our grain and cotton producers as it will provide the most significant increase in train paths in decades and meet the future needs of farmers right across south-west Queensland.”
Mr McVeigh said the infrastructure would be delivered from savings negotiated from existing freight contracts over the next two years.
“Up to 20 additional train paths per week will be made available for farmers to get crops off road and on to rail and double the current capacity,” Mr McVeigh said.
“Toowoomba is already a freight gateway for western Queensland and this will allow us to get the balance right between road and rail.”
Mr Emerson said the infrastructure investment was the second major step in the Newman Government’s agricultural freight strategy to improve rail access for rural Queensland, following confirmation the trial of additional cattle services between Winton and Brisbane, and Cloncurry and Brisbane would be made permanent.
“This year we’ll be contracting 325 regional cattle train services – an increase of 48 services, or 17 per cent,” he said.
“We’ve listened to regional Queenslanders who tell us these services are crucial for the cattle industry which is currently in need of support from right across Queensland.”
Winton will now have three cattle services and Cloncurry two per week – up to 968 extra head of cattle being transported on rail or the equivalent of removing about 15 B-double heavy vehicles from our highways.
The strategy to deliver better rail freight is part of the Newman Government’s agricultural and freight strategy, as part of the Queensland’s four pillar economy.
Pilot assistance to open CQ stock route
The Newman Government will cut red tape to ensure a major central Queensland stock route remains open to assist drought-affected cattle producers from the state’s north west.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said pilot escorts would be provided free of charge for type 2 road trains travelling between Clermont and Emerald.
“Pilots are required for road trains operating between Clermont and Emerald,” Mr Emerson said.
“The Newman Government will take on the cost of finding and funding pilots for drought-affected cattle.
“This will allow cattle to travel via Winton, Longreach, Alpha, then north to Clermont on the approved type 2 network.
“With the number of heavy vehicles expected, it will cost more than $100,000 over the next three months.”
Type 2 road trains are three-trailer combinations that carry up to 120 cattle.
Member for Gregory Vaughan Johnson welcomed the move which would help graziers suffering under drought conditions.
“Those graziers who missed out on the wet need our support and it’s up to everyone in the industry to do their bit,” Mr Johnson said.
“We are cutting red tape to get these trucks moving, but also to ensure it is done in a safe and responsible manner.
“Support from the road and rail transport systems is crucial to get cattle on to greener pastures.”
The Newman Government has also announced a 17 per cent increase in cattle trains for 2013, including an additional weekly service from Winton until the end of October and an extra weekly service from Cloncurry until the end of September.
“A trial last year showed the extra services were being well used by industry, so I’m pleased we have been able to continue offering them to graziers,” Mr Johnson said.
Cross River Rail must not see GST rip-off
The Newman Government won’t accept anything less than a genuine 50-50 funding split for Brisbane’s Cross River Rail from the Federal Government.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said it was essential that the Federal Government not rip GST funding off Queensland to pay for their share of the rail project.
“The Federal Government is trying to con Queenslanders by claiming it will pay for half the project, but then stealing back its share by cutting the State’s GST payments,” Mr Emerson said.
“The Commonwealth would usually be expected to pay the lion's share for this type of nation-building project, but the Newman Government is willing to accept a genuine 50-50 split.
“What we can’t afford to accept is Canberra paying just 25 per cent of the cost of Cross River Rail by slashing Queensland’s GST payment to claw back half its contribution.
“It amounts to Canberra giving with one hand but taking with the other.
“Given how important this project is for Queensland, I’m happy to meet the Federal Government halfway. However I need a genuine partnership not an attempt to con Queenslanders.
“We can’t afford that kind of cost as we fight to reduce the debt left by the former Labor government.”
An LNP review into the Cross River Rail project showed the former Queensland Labor government’s version was gold-plated, overpriced and therefore not affordable.
An expert panel released a report in June last year that showed the core of the original project would deliver the same capacity for $4.45 billion – almost half the cost of Labor’s plan.
“We will also continue to lobby the Federal Coalition to gain its support for the project should it form Government at the next Federal election,” he said.
Road construction work ramps up
Work on some of Queensland’s most flood-devastated roads will go out for tender this month.
Queensland Government Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson told a Roads Australia function this week the next round of disaster recovery tenders for $276 million had been fast-tracked to get work underway.
“This round of work will see important repairs get under way to the Captain Cook Highway, Landsborough Highway, Flinders Highway, Warrego Highway and the Bruce Highway,” Mr Emerson said.
“We’ve received a lot of useful feedback from the road construction industry over the past two months with more than 160 delegates attending briefings.”
Australian Government Minister Assisting on Queensland Floods Recovery, Senator Joe Ludwig, said the work would get Queensland roads rebuilt after the 2013 floods.
“The Australia Day floods caused significant damage across Queensland,” Mr Ludwig said.
“The Commonwealth Government has been standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Queenslanders to get the state back up and running. We are rolling out assistance for communities, families, small businesses and primary producers to provide relief and to help recovery.
“We’re working to rebuild our roads and today’s announcement gets that work underway.”
These projects are being delivered under the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements, a joint federal and state initiative.
Under these arrangements, the Australian Government provides 75 per cent of the funding, with 25 per cent from the Queensland Government.
Mr Emerson said with the inclusion of flood recovery works and asset management contracts, $1.7 billion in road works would be out for tender across Queensland in coming months.
“The first key milestone was recently achieved for the procurement of long-term asset management contracts for major roads in south east Queensland,” he said.
“Firms were asked to register their interest in three five-year contracts estimated at a total cost of $450 million.
“Registration of interest closed last week, and from those submissions we will shortlist down to six, based on an analysis of proponents. The preferred proponents will then be invited to tender for one of the contracts.”
Meanwhile, the final stage of the first tender for the jointly state-federal funded $790 million Section A of Cooroy to Curra is also underway.
“This project was announced in December last year. We are now looking at getting this project started by June 2013,” he said.
Plan underway for Yorkey’s Knob upgrade
Boaties will have another reason to enjoy the beautiful waterways of Cairns with planning now underway for the Yorkey’s Knob boat ramp upgrade.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson and Member for Barron River Michael Trout today inspected the site where works are scheduled for 2014.
“This project is part of the Newman Government’s $50 million Marine Infrastructure Fund election commitment, delivering recreational boating and fishing facilities around Queensland,” Mr Emerson said.
“The upgrade includes resurfacing and lengthening the boat ramp, building a new floating walkway, along with the replacement and reconfiguration of the existing pontoon.
“While a preliminary concept plan has been developed we will work with council over coming months to further develop and refine the proposed design.”
Mr Trout said cooperation with council would ensure the proposed recreational boating facilities coordinated with council’s master planning for Yorkey’s Knob.
“An upgrade to Yorkey’s Knob boating facilities will not only improve recreational boating infrastructure but help boost tourism in the Cairns area,” he said.
“It’s a hot spot for recreational boaties and tourists in this area and for too long we have had to put up with ageing facilities.
“Unlike the previous Labor government, we will keep to our election commitment of delivering this much needed upgrade to better cater for the needs of our region.
“An upgraded Yorkey’s Knob recreational boating facility is vital for the state’s tourism and our rapidly growing area and fits well with the government’s four economic pillars.”
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