Environment and heritage
OneTMR Heritage Places Asset Register
Across Queensland, the department is responsible for the maintenance and conservation of numerous heritage and cultural sites on its properties and road reserves. In 2019–20, the department created the first statewide OneTMR Heritage Places Asset Register.
The Register will include a collation of existing district data, review of statutory registers, and creation of a standard data proforma. Heritage sites include First Nation Peoples' culturally significant trees, artefact scatters, rock art, and wells. It will also include historic bridges, tunnels, lighthouses, tree avenues and buildings.
The Register will continue to develop in consultation with First Nation People and future condition assessments of relevant sites. It will prioritise the department's heritage maintenance program and information for heritage assessments which will enable the department to better provide a heritage sensitive, sustainable transport network for all Queenslanders.
The Director-General has continued in his role as Government Champion for the Woorabinda Aboriginal community, which is situated on the traditional lands of the Wadja Wadja/Wadjigal people, about 170 kilometres south west of Rockhampton. The Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (DATSIP) led program focuses on achieving improved economic and social outcomes and addressing barriers to effective service delivery.
The department works in partnership with DATSIP, neighbouring councils, and other government agencies to progress the community’s agenda. Over the past year, the partnership continued to build the community's capacity and capability under a Memorandum of Understanding for road construction, assisted to reinvigorate a community outpost and develop a training facility, and provided support and equipment to assist the community enact COVID-19 biosecurity restrictions.
The department also entered into a two year partnership, facilitated by Australia's CEO Challenge, with the Woorabinda Gumbi Gunyah Women and Children's Shelter. The shelter offers a safe place for women and children escaping domestic and family violence, who may be at risk of homelessness.
Minimising impacts on native fauna
The department continues to implement initiatives, during the design and construction of transport infrastructure, to minimise impacts on native fauna and ensure compliance under state and federal legislation.
Recent examples of initiatives that have been incorporated in projects:
- Five fauna movement structures and over 12 kilometres of fauna exclusion fencing are being constructed in areas of critical habitat along the Bruce Highway Upgrade–Caloundra Road to Sunshine Motorway alignment. More than 66 hectares will be rehabilitated to offset vegetation clearing associated with the project.
- Bruce Highway–Cooroy to Curra Section D project – offset areas are being legally secured and managed to improve and protect habitat for the koala and black-breasted button-quail.
- Monitoring of a fauna underpass constructed at Denison Creek near Mackay has recorded ten successful crossings by koalas and high utilisation by other native animals.
- Continual funding of valuable research by Sunshine Coast University to understand the characteristics of land offsets that provide best long-term outcomes for koalas.
- Representation on the Koala Advisory Council to work collaboratively on the South East Queensland Strategy outcomes and transport impacts with key stakeholders.
Reef 2050 Plan
Since the release of the Reef 2050 Plan in 2015, the department has continued to progress implementing actions to ensure the protection of the Great Barrier Reef.
The department and Queensland Ports have continued to work together with community, industry, scientists, and Traditional Owners to improve the management of maintenance dredging and reduce the impact of ports on the Great Barrier Reef while maintaining the economic and social contribution of ports.
Queensland Ports continue to progressively update and apply leading practice to dredging management through continuous improvement processes embedded in the Long-term Maintenance Dredging Management Plans by each port, including conducting Sustainable Sediment Management Studies to better manage dredging.
In addition, Queensland Ports have delivered major projects aligned with Reef 2050 Plan commitments, including the recently completed Cairns Shipping Development Project and the Townsville Channel Capacity Upgrade project, currently under construction.
The department is also delivering master plans for the priority ports of Gladstone, Abbot Point, Townsville and Hay Point/ Mackay in accordance with the Sustainable Ports Development Act 2015.
Electric Vehicle Strategy
Released in October 2017, ‘The Future is Electric - Queensland's Electric Vehicle Strategy' (EV Strategy) is a multi-agency strategy, designed to ensure Queensland is in the best position to capture the benefits and opportunities electric vehicles (EV) will bring for a cleaner, greener, and cheaper transport future.
The strategy outlines 16 cost-effective initiatives the Queensland Government will implement to encourage consumer support and uptake of these vehicles. The showpiece action of the EV Strategy is the Queensland Electric Super Highway (QESH), completed in January 2018. The QESH is the world's longest electric vehicle super highway in a single state, consisting of a series of fast-charging stations stretching from the Gold Coast to Cairns, and Brisbane to Toowoomba.
Since installation of the first chargers in late 2017, up to the end of May 2020, there has been over 13,000 QESH fast charging sessions. The use of QESH fast chargers, powered by renewable energy, has saved between 210 and 247 tonnes of CO2 compared to a car filling up at a service station.
A further $2.5 million was committed for Phase 2, with construction now underway which will construct additional fast charging stations along the QESH, reducing the distance between the existing charging locations.
Electric vehicle numbers are increasing in Queensland demonstrating the successful implementation of the EV Strategy. In the 12 months from 1 May 2019 to 30 April 2020, there was a 150 per cent increase in battery electric vehicles registered in Queensland from 1054 to 2636 vehicles.
Throughout the year, several other significant EV related activities occurred including:
- hosting an Electric Vehicle Forum at Parliament House in February 2020 as part of the Premier’s Business Series, with government and industry representatives attending.
- leading the development and implementation of a national program of work on low and zero emission vehicles for the Council of Australian Government’s Transport and Infrastructure Council.
- the Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning led development of the 500 kilometre Tropical North Queensland Electric Vehicle Drive, which opened in November 2019. The Drive features electric vehicle destination charging stations at six key tourist attractions across the Cairns region.
Read more about electric vehicles.
Roadside Bushfire Risk Assessment Model
The department manages a large estate of land within the state-controlled road corridor. This vast estate adjoins both the state-controlled transport network and a wide array of public and private buildings and other land uses. This land has varying bushfire hazard and risk.
To manage this issue, the department has invested in technological solutions, including the Roadside Bushfire Risk Assessment Model (RBRAM).
The RBRAM combines bushfire science by Queensland Fire and Emergency Services and CSIRO, to assess the likelihood and consequence of a bushfire on the land, and immediately adjacent to, the state-controlled road network.
Bushfire likelihood and consequence scores are combined to provide a risk score which is then reclassified to 250-500 lineal metre assessment units.
The results guide district delivery of bushfire fuel management. The model was piloted in 2018 and has been updated with the latest dataset in the 2020 model.
With Queensland striving to become a national leader in avoiding unnecessary consumption and waste generation, the department is working on several projects to identify ways to reduce landfill waste.
- trials of concrete pavement rehabilitation technology known as ‘concrete rubblisation’ which sees existing concrete broken up and reused to create a stable base for the overlaying pavement layers
- updates to its asphalt and bitumen specifications to facilitate the increased use of reclaimed asphalt pavement in the manufacture of ‘new’ asphalt
- completion of an investigation into the use of recycled tyres, recycled glass in roads
- ongoing research into the continued expansion of approved materials for recycling. The department currently allows the use of recycled materials – recycled glass, crushed concrete, reclaimed asphalt pavement and masonry (in unbound gravel), and bound pavement materials
- research into the use of recycled plastics focusing on road furniture like bollards, posts, seats, signs, noise and retaining walls, and more. The department is working with Main Roads Western Australia and the Australian Road Research Board on this project.