Infrastructure funding pledge to help ease SEQ growing pains


What did the council leaders say after meeting with government ministers and the opposition?

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After last week’s Council of Mayors (SEQ) meeting with Treasurer Cameron Dick, Transport Minister Bart Mellish and Opposition Leader David Crisafulli, its treasurer, Lockyer Valley Mayor Tanya Milligan, said she believed the June 11 state budget would contain more measures to help councils cope with population growth.

“We’ve held positive discussions with both sides of the aisle about opportunities to empower, enable, and back councils grappling with record growth,” she said.

Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding – whose region has the fastest growth rate (126 per cent) in south-east Queensland – asked for an additional $5 million annually for new buses into the Ripley Valley, and to finally connect Ipswich and Springfield by bus.

“I had the opportunity to raise our critical shortfall in infrastructure investment with the transport minister, as well as the director-general of transport and main roads, and hope to see some much-
needed funding form part of next month’s state budget,” Harding said.

“The shortfall in transport investment in our city is real. Despite having the sixth-largest population in Queensland – and the fastest growth rate – Ipswich sits in 19th place out of all Queensland councils in terms of overall transport investment from the state.”

What did the transport minister say?

Mellish said improvements were made to the Ipswich bus network around Springfield in 2019 and 2020, but not last year.

“In 2023, Translink launched more than 2000 new weekly bus services on the Gold Coast, Townsville, Sunshine Coast and Redlands to support our customers from a $9 million annual investment through the Bus Services Growth Program,” Mellish said.

But in 2020, he said, a new Spring Mountain leg was added to the existing Springfield route, while in 2019, a bus route between Ripley Valley, Springfield Station, Orion Shopping Centre and Yamanto was added.

Trains to Springfield Central are becoming more crowded as  commuter numbers increase.

Trains to Springfield Central are becoming more crowded as commuter numbers increase.Credit: Tony Moore

Mellish said he understood Harding’s public transport and road concerns, as well as those of other mayors.

“I had a positive discussion with the south-east Queensland mayors on Thursday, and will continue to work closely with them on the best solutions for these issues.”

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What do public transport lobby groups say?

Rail Back on Track’s Robert Dow said buses needed to be prioritised because new rail lines took a decade to plan, design, fund and build.

“We know that growth areas like Maroochydore, Coolangatta, Ripley, Redbank, Flagstone, Yarrabilba, Hamilton and Redlands can’t just have nothing until rail eventually reaches them,” Dow said.

“What is needed is a broader rollout of high-frequency bus routes – operating at least every 15 minutes, seven days a week – outside traditional inner-city areas on major arterial roads.”



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