Monday, 14 April 2014 16:04
Community Forum registration now open
Treasurer Tim Nicholls is opening the floor to all Queenslanders to have their say on the best way to pay down the accumulated debt of the past ten years - the $80 billion black cloud hanging over the State’s finances.
This week, the Treasurer begins conducting a series of open community forums and online virtual town halls to discuss with Queenslanders the choices which must be made to secure our future.
The $80 billion debt left to us by the previous Labor Government means that we are paying $450,000 in interest every hour.
It is essential that we pay down the accumulated debt of the last ten years in order to fund the roads, rail, schools and hospitals we need into the future.
The Treasurer has pointed out that we face three choices if we are to pay down the debt left by the previous Labor Government – significantly increase taxes, reduce services or sell or lease some assets.
The Government is keen to hear from anyone who wants to contribute to the discussion to determine how best to pay down Labor’s debt, reduce the interest bill and secure Queensland’s future.
The first community forums will be held at Chermside and Carindale in Brisbane on 15 April with regional forums to follow throughout Queensland. These forums are expected to last for approximately two hours.
One of the closest forums for us will be:
Wednesday, 16 April 2014 from 1 – 3 pm
at Spring Lake Hotel Function Centre, 1/1 Springfield Lakes Blvd, Springfield Lakes.
Tickets will be allocated via a randomised ballot drawn prior to each Community Forum event.
Online forums will also be offered to provide an opportunity for people to participate from their own home or workplace.
Full details about the community forums or virtual town hall meetings and registration information is available at www.treasury.qld.gov.au/communityforumsor by contacting my office.
Friday, 11 April 2014 10:18
I was delighted this week to see the introduction of a one-metre safe passing distance for motorists when overtaking cyclists.
As a cyclist myself, I know only too well the importance of encouraging safe driving habits; however, cycle safety is a two-way street.
Introduced alongside the minimum passing distance was an increase in fines for cyclists who break the road rules. Failing to stop at a red light or entering a level crossing when the barrier is down, for example, will now cost cyclists $330, bringing these fines in line with those set for motorists.
Just earlier this week a disturbing 88 traffic infringement notices were issued to cyclists in the State’s north as part of the two day Operation Cycle Safe. The cited offences included not stopping at a ‘Stop’ sign and not wearing a helmet.
It is everyone’s responsibility to stay safe on the roads and I strongly urge all of our local cyclists to do the right thing.
Thursday, 10 April 2014 16:30
The Ipswich Koala Protection Society is among eleven koala care organisations that will be able to expand their services thanks to extra State Government funding.
In the latest round of the Koala Rescue and Rehabilitation Grants program, the Ipswich Koala Protection Society received $14,200.
They plan to use the grant for a purpose-built educational trailer and accessories for public koala education and awareness activities.
The grant is part of $202,127 in funding allocated in Round 2 of the Koala Rescue and Rehabilitation Grants program.
These grants are a major investment to help community organisations extend koala conservation beyond habitat protection by delivering frontline support in rescuing and rehabilitating koalas.
They are part of the Queensland Government’s $26.5 million Investing to protect our koalas initiative and deliver a valuable service.
Wednesday, 09 April 2014 14:05
Cyclists will be banned from using the Western Freeway and Centenary Motorway between Mt Coot-tha and Springfield from Friday 11 April 2014, due to the high volume and high speed of traffic using the roadway.
Potential risks to on-road cyclists include narrow shoulder widths, conflicts at on and off-ramps, a high number and concentration of weaving movements, and restricted forward sight distance at a number of locations.
As a result, cyclists will be prohibited from entering/exiting the highway at the Mt Coot-tha roundabout at Toowong, through to Augusta Parkway at Springfield.
The ban will affect cyclists travelling both inbound and outbound along this section of highway.
It does not affect cyclists using the separate, off-road cycle paths adjacent to the highway. Alternate cycle routes are available along the Centenary Highway, which include the use of local roads.
Sometime the only way to keep other road users safe is to physically separate them from vehicles.
This decision underscores the critical need for cycle infrastructure to improve safety, particularly infrastructure to keep cyclists off dangerous roads altogether.
State and local authorities have already invested a lot of money in cycle infrastructure but it frequently ends at public roads and we have a long way to go.
The Department of Transport and Main Roads is working with Brisbane City Council and Ipswich City Council to ensure local cycle ways are maintained and upgraded to ensure safety for all users.
The ultimate outcome of this prohibition will be cyclists using the safer alternative to travel (using dedicated, off-road cycle paths) rather than the potentially hazardous route of the Centenary Highway.
Monday, 07 April 2014 14:08
New laws commence today requiring motorists to allow a distance of at least 1 metre when passing cyclists, for a two year trial.
The new laws require a minimum 1 metre distance up to 60 km/h and 1.5 metres for over 60 km/h. Motorists will be able to cross double-lines to pass cyclists when it is safe to do so.
When a court found that no offence had been committed under Queensland law when a young cyclist was killed by truck on Moggill Road, it was obvious that our law was inadequate to protect road users.
Everyone deserves to get home safely, whether that is safety from industrial accidents, safety from crime and violence or safety on the road.
Currently in Queensland we kill around one cyclist every month, but this disguises the true impact of what is happening on our roads as many more suffer serious head injuries or permanent disability.
Issues around the enforcement of the new regulation have been validly raised, but many of our road rules face the same challenges for enforcement. Cars are required to keep to the left lane unless overtaking, to stop at stop signs, to observe speed limits, school speed zones, etc.
I hope that the necessity of enforcement is only a small part as we seek to change a culture that has been well described where motorists believe roads belong only to them and that other road users have no right to be there.
One of the forgotten issues in discussion of cycling is that a high proportion of cyclists on our roads are school children.
I would like to see every one of them arrive back home safely.
Many parents have been too frightened to allow their children to ride to school.
Of course, it is just as important for cyclists as well as motorists to do the right thing.
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