Fares fair as independent panel looks at how we’re travelling

An independent panel will give commuter insights on the affordability of Queensland’s public transport and provide advice on fares, products and ticketing

The Public Transport Fares Advisory Panel established by the Palaszczuk Government met this week, providing a new outlet for commuter feedback on how public transport is travelling in the Sunshine State.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the panel, chaired by leading public transport authority Paul Low, will add to the Palaszczuk Government’s ongoing public transport investment and initiatives like Fairer Fares Policy.

“The panel’s members have been selected to ensure there is a broad range of expertise, including specialist transport knowledge, community insights, regional perspectives and industry experience,” Mr Bailey said.

“We’re heading in the right direction in terms of our investments in better public transport for Queensland but having an independent voice to share insights on what works best for the people who catch trains, buses, trams and ferries each day can help us to ensure that investment is supporting commuters the way it should.

“As we head for another record in public transport patronage in south east Queensland and invest more than $370 million for Australia’s first smart ticketing system, Paul Low and the panel will provide valuable and specialised knowledge to look at ways we can make the public transport experience even better.

“The Palaszczuk Government’s Fairer Fares Policy has already slashed the cost of public transport, saving Queenslanders more than $153 million and leading to a record 189 million trips in last year.

“We’re backing more frequent and reliable public transport for Queenslanders through our $5.4 billion Cross River Rail project, and smart ticketing will give all Queenslanders access to innovative public transport technology, unlike the traditional GoCard, which is currently restricted in where it can be used.”

Earlier this year, the Palaszczuk Government announced $250 million for a new underground bus hub at Roma Street station and $57 million to upgrade six stations on Brisbane’s southside.

“We’re investing in new park ‘n’ ride spaces across the south east, including the $44.5 million Springfield Central Station multi-level car park project and $4 million Ormeau park ‘n’ ride upgrade, which received a $2 million funding boost earlier this year,” Mr Bailey said.

“Our government has secured $2.5 million for a new dedicated bus lane along the busy Nicklin Way on the Sunshine Coast, and we’ve committed $7.5 million to develop a comprehensive public transport plan for the Coast together with Sunshine Coast Regional Council.

“We have seen more New Generation Rollingstock trains hit the tracks, we have the opening of the multi-storey Park ‘n’ Ride at the new Queensland State Netball Centre, and opened the Townsville CBD Bus Hub earlier this year.

“In total, the Palaszczuk Government will deliver more than $23.1 billion in roads and transport infrastructure over the next four years, supporting more than 21,500 jobs, and I look forward to working with Paul and the panel to make the most of Queensland’s public transport.”

Other panel members include Griffith University Associate Professor Matthew Burke, Blaise Itabelo, Julie Castle, Gail Ker and Adrienne Ward.

The panel is scheduled to meet twice in the next 12 months to consider these matters, with additional meetings to be convened as necessary.

Panel Members:

Chair – Paul Low: Paul Low is the lead partner in KPMG’s National Infrastructure, Government and Healthcare industry group. He has over 20 years’ experience driving and advising on major projects and initiatives in transport and infrastructure policy and planning and economic development in Queensland and interstate. Paul has held various Deputy Director General roles in the Queensland government, including the Department of Transport and Main Roads.

Matthew Burke: Associate Professor Matthew Burke is a member of Griffith University’s Cities Research Institute and an Australian Research Council Future Fellow. He is currently leading an Australian Research Council Linkage Project on funding and financing of public transport infrastructure in Australia.

Blaise Itabelo: Blaise Itabelo works in the not-for-profit sector as Community Development and Engagement Coordinator with Access Community Services. He is also Director of a private migration practice and holds various community volunteer roles.

Gail Ker: Gail Ker OAM is the CEO of Access Community Services. Her vast knowledge is actively sought by politicians, industry leaders and research bodies, nationally and internationally.

Julie Castle: Julie Castle is a Managing Director of marketing and communications firm Struber. She has advised, consulted and fulfilled in-house roles on over 70 major infrastructure projects, including: 2018 Commonwealth Games, Canberra Light Rail, Gold Coast Light Rail, Sydney Light Rail, Gateway Motorway and Crossrail (London).

Adrienne Ward: Adrienne Ward owns and operates several family businesses in Gladstone and supports various not-for-profit organisations in the central Queensland region. She has a background in corporate and government strategy in state and national roles.

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