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Monday, 27 May 2013
Page: 3823

Ms GAMBARO (Brisbane) (11:10): I rise to speak on the motion that has just been moved by the member for Moreton, who seems to have a bit of a chip. Every time I go to his electorate he calls me 'that person over there who comes from the northside'. I am delighted to speak to the motion that he has moved today because we need to put a few facts on the table.

As a member that represents an inner-city electorate that contains the CBD of Brisbane and numerous inner-city suburbs, I am very conscious of the importance of public transport to my electorate and to my constituents. I will start on the Cross River Rail because he mentioned the Cross River Rail. It is a cruel hoax what you did the other day announcing the Cross River Rail because these projects are normally funded 50-50. But what you and your party did was offer to provide 25 per cent of the funding and claw back the other 75 per cent through GST revenues. That is not a fair deal; that is not a good deal and that is why it was rejected. The project will cost over $4 billion. You know it; you have got no money to contribute. All you are doing is providing a cruel hoax on the people of Brisbane.

Mr Perrett interjecting

Ms GAMBARO: The member for Moreton knows better than that.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Hon. BC Scott ): I want to draw attention to the use of the word 'you'. Address your comments through the chair.

Ms GAMBARO: I will refer to the member for Moreton by his correct title.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: It is a habit of many in both chambers. As the occupier of this chair, I try to get people to direct their comments through the chair.

Ms GAMBARO: When you go out and announce a rail project with no proper funding, that is a cruel hoax on the people of Brisbane. That is what this government does all the time: make an announcement, worry about the funding later. No one doubts that it is a good project. I am very supportive of the project if there is funding. There is no funding that is indicated—in the perilous state of the budget—to proceed with a project of this magnitude. It is important for us to discuss this topic because I have workers making the daily commute in and out of the city, students going to universities and pensioners using local services to do their shopping. The use of public transport is very wide and very varied.

The challenge for the three levels of government in our capital cities across Australia over the next 50 years will be how we manage our infrastructure challenges, how we control the congestion issues and how we find the right balance between investment in public transport and investment in road infrastructure. This motion is essentially now outdated because a lot has happened in this space since the member for Moreton submitted his motion, which is sadly something that he has not even bothered to keep up-to-date with.

The motivation behind reviewing the bus network was never to cut or decrease services. As the member for Moreton well knows, the investment in new buses is not infinite and it is not unlimited. So it is really important that the buses are used efficiently and are used effectively to provide the best value for the commuters. There is nothing more frustrating than watching some buses carry two or three passengers on a consistent basis go past and then the next minute seeing some buses leaving passengers behind bus stops because they are so full. If Labor members think that those situations are okay then they should stand up here and say so. The motivation behind the bus review was not to cut services. The Newman government's bus review was announced in July last year because people were walking away from buses. As the Queensland Minister for Transport and Main Roads, Scott Emerson, said when he announced the review in the middle of 2012, the aim of the review was to eliminate service duplication, to manage the infrastructure capacity, to get more people on public transport by simplifying the network, to get better connectivity between services and models and to redirect those services to routes where there is overcrowding.

Interestingly, those 10 worst performing routes cost more than $5 million a year with less than five per cent of the cost paid for through fares. As we know, the Queensland government's agency TransLink handed down the review in March and it was released for public consultation. There was immediately a massive reaction, with 40,000 website visits in the first week and a half since the report was made public and 1,700 comments were received in the first 24 hours. Many of my constituents contacted my office. There was also concern raised about the TransLink proposal by the Brisbane City Council.

I think the problem with the TransLink proposal was that it tried to overhaul the whole bus system in Brisbane as opposed to just making the necessary changes. Consequently, Minister Emerson handed over the Brisbane portion of the review to the Brisbane City Council. He also made it clear that there would be no changes to bus routes in Brisbane without the full support of the Brisbane City Council. Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said:

It is my view that the proposed changes represented a revolution rather than an evolution in public transport services.

The BCC then conducted its own review and handed down the revised review in April. There was a four-week consultation period until 20 May, with a report back to the Queensland government due by 1 June.

The Brisbane City Council's bus network review assessed 235 routes. They identified 146 routes with no changes and removed nine routes. They had 80 service changes, including 46 timetable changes, 34 route changes and three route amalgamations. Of the nine routes removed most of them had a ridiculously low number of passengers per trip. Some of them already had services available from the new BUZ or CityGlider services, which are incredibly popular with their high-frequency services.

Most of the 80 changes were timetable variations. However, 19 services are to get improvements, including extra stops and rerouting as well as servicing previously underserviced areas of Doolandella, Calamvale and Drewvale. The changes that affect my electorate are as follows. There is an additional stop on the Maroon CityGlider along Macgregor Terrace to service the Bardon shops. How bad is that? It is a good thing, member for Moreton. Rerouting the 199 through the Ivory Street tunnel to improve travel times—

Honourable members interjecting

Ms GAMBARO: Hang on, we're going west now. We are off to the western suburbs now. Adding a stop on the 384 at Red Hill will provide passengers with additional city travel options in peak hours. Rerouting the 310 service through the airport link will improve travel times. Extending the P341 to service Fitzgibbon and Rogan roads will provide direct access to Chermside, the Royal Brisbane Hospital and the CBD for the very first time. There will be better access to the Royal Brisbane Hospital on the 363 by altering the route via Butterfield Street. These are some of the positive changes that have come about for my constituents from the bus network review.

Following the review being handed down I received a representation from a young constituent regarding bus services from the inner west suburbs. She raised the issue of bus routes from Ashgrove, Paddington and Bardon and the fact that there is no direct link between these suburbs and the University of Queensland. How crazy is that? All of these people living in the western suburbs cannot go directly to the University of Queensland. They have to travel into the city and then they have to travel out to UQ. I bet there are a lot of UQ students who would welcome that.

A huge number of students reside in these areas and attend UQ at St Lucia. Currently there are students living in these suburbs who are required to catch a bus to the CBD and transfer to a bus that goes back to the University of Queensland.

That is despite the fact that there are many major roads and many links towards the University of Queensland from these suburbs without travelling back through the city and adding more travel time and more congestion for students wishing to travel directly to university to attend their classes. I have been encouraged by the particular student that contacted me and I encouraged her to make a submission to the review. I hope this issue will be addressed in future and I know that the member for Ryan will have many students in her electorate with similar issues.

I would like to draw the attention of the chamber to the fact that despite the desperate politicking of the member for Moreton and many others, the Newman government actually halved the public transport fare increases of the former Bligh government—and he did not mention that today—and before losing office the Bligh Labor government announced an annual increase to public transport fares of 15 per cent. The Newman government has halved that increase to 7.5 per cent for this year and next year. That is a very positive outcome for many of the constituents that use public transport. I challenge the ALP members who follow me in this debate to say whether they agree with the fact that public transport fares were going to increase by 15 per cent had their party been re-elected in the state government in Queensland. The second positive initiative the Newman government introduced is free public transport after nine journeys, and that is very welcome thing for many people in my electorate. (Time expired)

Ms Gambaro interjecting