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Speech – Transport and Other Legislation Amendment Bill (7 April 2011)

Mr POWELL (Glass House–LNP) (7.41 pm): I, too, rise to address the Transport and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2011. I note that the bill amends the Transport Infrastructure Act 1994 to recognise the chief executive as the owner of rail corridor and non-rail corridor land and that it clarifies the power of the chief executive to enter and investigate rail corridors. There is also reference to QR leases and there is a streamlining of the processes involved in the sale of compulsorily resumed land or parts of resumed land that are no longer required for the original resumption purpose. I will be confining my comments to these elements of the bill.
 
With regard to the north coast rail corridor duplication and particularly the resumption of land and the signing of leases, I would like to acknowledge the efforts of and thank the previous minister for transport for her assistance with a couple of issues that arose in the electorate of Glass House around that north coast rail corridor. In particular, we got to the point where we were able to sign a lease with the Elimbah Fruitgrowers over its co-op arrangement at the Elimbah Railway Station. I understand though that there is not a lot of certainty around how long that lease will operate, but we are grateful that a lease was able to be sorted out.
 
Possibly more important was the situation of Matt and Lisa Sherry in Palmwoods. As the minister will be aware, the EIS has been released for the duplication from Landsborough to Nambour. It has a huge effect on the township of Palmwoods. It has a huge effect on residents in Leeons Road. Interestingly, the Sherrys were one of the only families who were unaffected apparently yet were losing half a dam. I thank the previous minister for taking on board our representations. QR has subsequently gone out and assessed the situation and has determined that they are affected. I understand that a settlement has been made and the Sherrys have moved to another property in Palmwoods. I am glad that we kept them as constituents, and I am very grateful for the assistance of the department in resolving that matter.
 
But there is a large amount of outstanding business in the north coast rail duplication corridor. I would like to raise a few of those matters with the minister this evening. Firstly, we are getting a lot of feedback from constituents in and around Beerburrum–Helen Manson to name one–concerning the ongoing lease and maintenance of the TrackStar Alliance depot adjacent to the Beerburrum Railway Station. Obviously TrackStar had intentions of continuing on with the Beerburrum to Landsborough upgrade and so has kept its depot there, but it has fallen into a considerable state of disrepute–
 
An honourable member: Disrepute?
 
Mr POWELL: Disrepute is probably not the correct word–disrepair is probably the correct word.
 
Ms O’Neill: But I like the idea of its disrepute.
 
Mr POWELL: No, we will not make comments on what perhaps goes on at the depot. It is certainly in a state of disrepair. The fencing has deteriorated. There are weeds and grass everywhere. It is certainly not looked after. I have written to the minister about this. I hope it is something she might be able to look into. In a similar vein to the Elimbah Fruitgrowers, I know the Glass House Mountains co-op is trying to sort out its lease arrangements. The corridor does not adjust too much around the Glass House Mountains Railway Station, but clearly the co-op needs some certainty around its ongoing lease arrangements.
 
I have received notification recently that the Sunshine Coast Regional Council is in the final stages of preparing its streetscaping project for the community of Glass House Mountains. It has raised a number of issues with me regarding the interface with the rail corridor upgrade, particularly things such as the integration of that streetscaping CBD plan and the rail upgrade overpass, including the rail levels; the planning of heavy haulage routes to reduce congestion and improve safety with the expected increase in traffic numbers; and the retaining of the existing railway station in the rail upgrade plan. My understanding is that members of the Glass House Mountains community have had extensive discussions with the former member for Glass House. A lot of work was put in to upgrading the Glass House Mountains Railway Station, but it is a heritage station. It is recognised as being an intrinsic part of the community. It would be great if we could hang on to that. I will be talking further with the council and with representatives of the Glass House Mountains township around those issues, but again I just bring them to the attention of the minister this evening.
 
I know there is outstanding business around Murray Pike and his property. The corridor is pushing Steve Irwin Way to one side. Therefore, TMR is having to resume part of his pineapple farm. There is a dispute about the valuation. Clearly the valuation TMR is providing does not include a value for the crop. Pineapples are grown on a cyclical basis. The crops are in. It is not just a case of resuming the land; it is giving compensation for the crop that is being lost as well. I just ask again that, when the time comes, the Minister for Transport and the Minister for Main Roads take a moment to reconsider that situation.
 
Finally, the biggest issue–and we have been contacting the minister’s office regularly on this issue–is around the Palmwoods CBD itself. Local Sunshine Coast Regional Councillor Jenny McKay and I and Mayor Bob Abbot with a number of council staff came down and spoke to the former minister last year about possibly looking at an arrangement to transfer excess land–what we understand to be excess land based on where the corridor is going to go through Palmwoods–which would facilitate the council being able to better plan the CBD of Palmwoods, particularly to look at supermarket developments for that community. We left that meeting with the mayor and the minister understanding that there was some goodwill on both sides and that it could potentially be looked at. My understanding is that when council went to follow that through with TMR representatives it stalled to the point where it is now being told it that it cannot go any further. That is really holding up the council and its ability to resolve a lot of issues in the CBD of Palmwoods.
 
We have written to the minister to request another meeting with the minister, the councillor and council staff to try to resolve that issue. We would very much appreciate an opportunity to come and see the minister as soon as possible to further discuss that. I realise our previous discussions were with the former minister, but it would be great to bring this minister up to speed to see if there is not a way we can resolve it. We realise that under current plans the corridor is not going to be built until 2031. The council cannot wait that long to resolve this issue. We think there is a very simple solution. We put it to TMR. We thought we had some recognition of that from TMR, but subsequently not. Again, if the minister could assist us with that, it would be much appreciated.
 
In concluding my comments, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the minister for hearing the majority of the Sunshine Coast commuters’ concerns when it came to the draft timetable that was released last year. The one released earlier this week is a vast improvement on the last one. The reinstatement of the 5.20 service from the CBD in the afternoon is a godsend for most workers who work in the CBD and finish at 5 pm.
 
We acknowledge also that some effort has been made to adjust the arrival times in the morning. Most of those are improvements. We also acknowledge the additional service. The one remaining frustration, as I have shared with the minister–I think I have sent through correspondence–is the fact that in streamlining the services to stay on one track, and we understand that that saves time, what it has meant is that the number of express services from Caboolture to Bowen Hills have evaporated and we now only have express services from Petrie to Northgate. That is adding between 10 to 15 minutes to every service bar the one from Gympie North in the morning. It is meaning that people who were catching the 6.00 am service are now catching the 5.45 am and 5.50 am services. It may not seem a lot, but when they add 10 minutes on at the start of the day and 10 minutes on at the end of the day and they are already doing 13 or 14 hour days with their travel it adds up. It will impact on those families concerned.
I also appreciate that the minister has heard the concerns around the periodical ticketing issues of coast commuters. I am glad to hear that she will be reviewing that issue and that she will be including regional or subregional commuters on that review panel. I look forward to hearing how the minister will address those concerns. We can dispute the figures, but it is going to result in a massive increase in fares. I understand fares are going up, but by removing those periodical ticketing options it really is impacting on long-range commuters.
Ms Palaszczuk: I hear you.
Mr POWELL: You hear me. I am glad to hear the minister acknowledging that. I look forward to another positive outcome in that regard.
It is a lifestyle decision to live on the coast and work in the CBD. Most commuters accept that. But they would ask that, given they are already the longest commuters of any in TransLink network, that is taken into consideration. I again raise the issue of the express services that have gone from Caboolture to Bowen Hills down to Petrie to Northgate. That is really going to impact on commuters. Given these changes will be implemented on 6 June perhaps the minister could look to address these issues for next time.

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