Public transport upgrades sparking accessibility, jobs
Published Saturday, 20 March, 2021 at 11:45 AM
Minister for Transport and Main Roads
The Honourable Mark Bailey
Minister for Employment and Small Business and Minister for Training and Skills Development
The Honourable Di Farmer
Major investments to make public transport more accessible across Queensland and create jobs as part of the state’s economic recovery are powering ahead, with another milestone reached on the Palaszczuk Government’s half-a-billion-dollar station accessibility program.
A 500-tonne crane today lifted in a brand-new pedestrian footbridge at Cannon Hill station, one of 17 stations in the south east being overhauled to make them more accessible for Queenslanders including those with a disability and older people.
Inspecting the works today with Member for Bulimba Di Farmer, Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said making stations more accessible was key to encouraging public transport use, especially with the downturn in patronage during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“What we’ve seen during COVID is more people moving to Queensland because of the way we continue to manage the health response, and it’s vital from a public transport perspective that the accessibility is there to accommodate our diverse and growing population,” Mr Bailey said.
“Importantly, we also want the jobs in fields like construction there for people who want work and are choosing Queensland as the place to be.
It comes as the government last week announced members of its Queensland Accessible Transport Advisory Council to give a voice to those with vision, hearing, physical or cognitive impairments, older people, parents and youth groups when it comes to building public transport.
“There’s $26.9 billion worth of transport and road projects coming over the next four years plus the $5.4 billion Cross River Rail project, all supporting close to 30,000 jobs, and I think we can all agree that we want them to be as accessible to as many people as possible.
“We don’t want a repeat of the past when the LNP under Campbell Newman ordered trains from overseas that weren’t disability-compliant and are now having to be rectified.
Mr Bailey said in addition to works happening at Cannon Hill, station upgrades were also in full swing at Dakabin, Auchenflower, East Ipswich, Fairfield and Yeronga, with upgrades at Yeerongpilly, Moorooka, Rocklea, Salisbury, Banyo, Bundamba, Burpengary, Wooloowin, Lindum and Morningside to follow.
Those upgrades will feature new footbridges, lifts, accessible car parks, raised platforms, upgraded hearing augmentation loops, tactile platform surfaces, updated security, lighting and station signage.
“That’s on top of what the Palaszczuk Government is doing more broadly with the $335 million program to fix the NGRs, new stations in the Brisbane CBD and on the Gold Coast, light rail Stage 3 to Burleigh, and our commitment to build new trains in Maryborough.
“Regionally, we’ve also seen new accessible buses rolled out across major hubs by our partners who operate public transport and upgrades to train stations along the spine of the North Coast line.
“With a renewed focus on accessibility in recent years, the desire to see more people take public transport and the need to create jobs, we’ve jumped on a really unique opportunity right now for us to build better public transport and spark a construction boom.”
Minister for Employment and Small Business and Member for Bulimba Di Farmer said making public transport more accessible was so essential for everyone to participate in their communities and to access vital services.
“Traffic congestion is an issue, and in an inner-city community like ours, it really important to make it easier for parents with children, those with disabilities, the young and the elderly to use public transport,” Ms Farmer said.
“Plenty of local tradies are also so enthusiastic about this project and on this upgrade alone, 250 jobs have been created in fields including electrical, carpentry, painting, plumbing, labouring, roofing, glazing, and traffic control.
“Benefits of station upgrades are two-fold, with greater access to public transport for the community and a boost to our economic recovery plan with job creation and infrastructure.
Ms Farmer said construction on the Cannon Hill station upgrade was expected to be completed by early next year, weather and construction conditions permitting.
“To-date, the station’s new 35 metre footbridge is the longest footbridge installed as part of the program.
“Following the bridges lift-in, fit out works will commence ahead of its opening with lift installation works to follow.”
Media contact: Francis Dela Cruz – 0420 592 078