Smart Ticketing’s Indigenous influence hits spotlight for NAIDOC Week

Minister for Transport and Main Roads The Honourable Mark Bailey

Gold Coast ticket validator wrapped in The Connecting Thread First Nations artwork

TransLink’s $371 million Smart Ticketing project will continue its celebration of First Nations people and culture during NAIDOC Week festivities.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said Smart Ticketing’s indigenous influence will be on display across South East Queensland.

“As part of the latest Smart Ticketing trial on the SEQ Queensland Rail network, 48 new ticket validators wrapped in TransLink’s The Connecting Thread First Nations artwork have now been installed and switched on for go card use at 10 stations north of Brisbane,” Mr Bailey said.

“A world-class project on par with the global ticketing networks in Singapore, New York, Chicago and Boston, the Palaszczuk Government’s Smart Ticketing program will ultimately allow customers to pay for travel using smartphones, smart watches and smart devices, as well as contactless Visa, Mastercard or American Express credit or debit cards.

“It will be introduced across all SEQ public transport and 18 regional urban bus services by the end of 2022, and I’m proud to see a strong First Nations influence on the project.”

The artwork was developed by local Gilimbaa artist Elisa Carmichael (Quandamooka) specifically for the Smart Ticketing project, with wrapped ticket validators also installed late last year for the successful Gold Coast light rail trial.

“The Connecting Thread artwork recognises the rich contribution of the indigenous people of Queensland and the pathways of those who have travelled tens of thousands of years before us,” Ms Carmichael said.

“Having the chance to design the artwork was incredibly special for me and it symbolises and reflects the landscapes of Queensland from top to bottom, exploring rainforest, bush, freshwater, saltwater and desert country.

“One of the most important items for First Nations people is string and when one thread comes together and is woven with many, its strength is formed.

“Placing woven string elements over the artwork pattern was my way of honouring connection to Country and the significance of caring, working and living with the environment, and I think it’s a perfect fit for Smart Ticketing.”

Installation of the new validators at QR’s Gympie North, Eumundi, Woombye, Beerwah, Glasshouse Mountains, Murrumba Downs, Petrie, Strathpine, Northgate and Albion stations comes as Smart Ticketing ambassador and proud First Nations Queenslander Taliqua Clancy prepares for a second shot at Olympic Games glory.

The 29-year-old beach volleyballer, a Wulli Wulli and Gooreng Gooreng woman, and playing partner Artacho del Solar were last week chosen on the Australian Olympic team for Tokyo after debuting with different partners at Rio in 2016.

In addition to being an ambassador for the project, Ms Clancy is also the voice of Smart Ticketing’s bright pink mascot Marlu the kangaroo, who has appeared in radio ads and on train, tram and platform signage.

In the Warlpiri language, Marlu means kangaroo.

“I’m incredibly proud to be involved with the project, which has a strong focus on acknowledging First Nations people and our culture,” Ms Clancy, who was born and raised in Kingaroy, said.

“Smart Ticketing is the first organisation globally to incorporate indigenous art into ticketing infrastructure and Elisa Carmichael has done a wonderful job with the artwork.

“Importantly, being involved in the project has given me a chance to promote and celebrate First Nations Queenslanders through Marlu and it’s something I’m looking forward to continuing.

“NAIDOC Week is always a special time for me as well as my family and I can’t wait to represent my country and indigenous Australians again at the Tokyo Olympics.”

The 48 new Smart Ticketing validators installed across 10 QR stations have first been switched on for adult go card use while testing is carried out, but will be enabled for other payment options as the trial progresses.

Mr Bailey said the rollout of all 550 validators across 154 SEQ train stations will then be completed by the end of the year.

“The heavy rail trial is another huge step forward for the Smart Ticketing project and we’re confident customers will appreciate the convenience of being able to pay for their travel in a number of different ways,” he said.

“We’re also proud of its strong indigenous ties, highlighted by the artwork on new validators that also feature larger, brighter screens with a hood and simplified messaging to make life easier for users.

“We’ve seen the overwhelming success of the first trial on Gold Coast light rail but have also been able to take some key learnings from it as we progress on heavy rail.

“It’s an exciting time for the project, the customers who will benefit and First Nations Queenslanders.”

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