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Planning best value investments for our future transport needs

Queensland Transport Strategy

Queensland’s vast and diverse transport network continues to grow and plays a fundamental role in the state’s economic growth and prosperity. Designing a transport network for the future requires the development and implementation of long-and medium-term strategies and integrated plans, which prioritise investments that ensure that Queensland’s long-term transport needs can be met.

The Queensland Transport Strategy was released in early 2020 and provides a 30 year vision for the transformation of the state’s transport system to provide flexibility in responding to customer preferences, global trends, and emerging technologies. It puts customers first and articulates the department’s plan for maximising the benefits of future changes for all Queenslanders.

The Strategy details how the department will plan to harness emerging trends to continue to move people and products safely and efficiently into the future. It will be accompanied by a two year Action Plan that will be released in late 2020 and updated biennially.

Five customer focused outcomes to support a future focused transport system include:

  • accessible, convenient transport
  • safe journeys for all
  • seamless, personalised journeys
  • efficient, reliable, and productive transport for people and goods
  • sustainable, resilient, and liveable communities.

Read more about the Queensland Transport Strategy.

Queensland Road System Performance Plan

The Queensland Road System Performance Plan 2019–23 is a rolling four year plan for the maintenance, preservation and operation of the state-controlled road network. The plan covers investment programs that focus on:

  • long-term sustainability of transport infrastructure assets and connectivity
  • safe, reliable, and efficient operation of the state-controlled road network.

The current plan builds upon the previously approved plan, which provided $4.13 billion over four years, including an allowance of $334.29 million provided by the Australian Government towards maintenance of National Land Transport Network. The plan includes performance targets using network-level, life-cycle costing analysis across 23 investment categories which were refined in consultation with department districts and their tactical asset management strategies.

State Infrastructure Plan

The State Infrastructure Plan, which aligns to the Queensland Government’s priority of creating a strong economy by creating jobs, outlines a $12.9 billion statewide capital works program for 2019–20. Of this, $5.6 billion was for road, rail, active transport, marine infrastructure, and public transport solutions.

The purpose of the plan is to:

  • set strategic direction and foster innovation in government's planning, investment, and delivery of infrastructure
  • identify the anticipated service needs and infrastructure investment opportunities for a prosperous Queensland
  • develop a sustainable and credible program of investment for industry and independent advice from Building Queensland
  • provide context to enable greater coordination between public and private infrastructure.

The transport response (for the next 15 years) is to invest in:

  • maintenance and rehabilitation of existing infrastructure
  • identification and improvement of the freight network
  • innovation and technology solutions
  • public transport solutions including demand management
  • digitally connected smart infrastructure
  • regional community access to essential services and opportunities.

Infrastructure Australia 2020 Infrastructure Priority List

The department continued to have its nationally significant infrastructure proposals recognised by Infrastructure Australia in the Infrastructure Priority List (IPL) – a reference point for nationally significant infrastructure investments Australia needs over the next 15 years.

In 2019–20, nine new department projects and seven new department initiatives were included in the IPL. Altogether, the June 2020 IPL recognises 10 Transport and Main Roads projects and 17 initiatives.

The nine new Priority Projects include:

  • Gold Coast Light Rail Stage 3
  • M1 Pacific Motorway:
    • Eight Mile Plains to Daisy Hill
    • Varsity Lakes to Tugun.
  • Bruce Highway:
    • Deception Bay Road Interchange
    • Caboolture-Bribie Island Road to Steve Irwin Way
    • Maroochydore Road Interchange
    • Cooroy to Curra Section D: Woondum to Curra
    • Cairns Southern Access Corridor Stage 3: Edmonton to Gordonvale.
  • Peak Downs Highway Realignment: Walkerston Bypass.

The seven new Initiatives include:

High Priority Initiatives

  • Queensland National Land Transport Network Maintenance
  • Queensland Regional Road Network Safety Improvements
  • Brisbane Northern Suburbs Corridor Capacity, which recognises the congestion pressures experienced on Gympie Arterial Road.

Priority Initiatives

  • Queensland Inland Freight Route Capacity and Safety
  • Mooloolah River Interchange Capacity and Safety
  • Browns Plains to South East Busway Public Transport Connectivity
  • Browns Plains to Beaudesert Road Capacity and Safety, which highlights upgrades to the Mount Lindesay Highway to address current capacity and safety issues as nationally-significant.

Further, the existing Priority Initiative for Gold Coast Rail Line Capacity improvements: Kuraby to Beenleigh has been renamed the Gold Coast Rail Line and Station Improvements, in recognition of the rail station constraints currently being experienced in this corridor, such as at the Loganlea Station. The existing High Priority Initiative M1 Pacific Motorway capacity: Eight Mile Plains to Tugun also now recognises that planning is underway for the Coomera Connector – Stage 1 between Coomera and Nerang as an alternative route to relieve pressure on the M1 Pacific Motorway.

Investment approach addressing network sustainability

The department is focused on delivering a sustainable transport system by prioritising funding towards running and maintaining existing transport infrastructure to ensure service standards on the transport network are maintained or improved.

Prioritisation of transport infrastructure investment means getting the most out of existing assets and using infrastructure smarter and more efficiently than before, while balancing growing transport demand and customer expectations within a constrained funding environment.

In 2019–20, the department continued to address sustainability by targeting maintenance to the highest priority needs and making better use of the existing transport network (a priority Queensland Government directive in the State Infrastructure Plan).

This includes:

  • increased funding for road routine maintenance, programmed maintenance, pavement rehabilitation, and bridge/culvert rehabilitation over the forward estimates period
  • increased funding for roads operations traffic incident services and maintenance of Intelligent Transport Systems and signals over the forward four year period
  • funding for the statewide LED lamp replacement program and the next generation traffic system controller program
  • continued funding of maritime dredging of recreational boat harbours and channels
  • continued funding of off-road cycleways programmed maintenance and rehabilitation.

Queensland Freight Action Plan

COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of Queensland’s freight system as a key enabler for the vital components of our economy including production, distribution, and trade.

The Honourable Mark Bailey MP, Minister for Transport and Main Roads, established a special Queensland Ministerial Freight Council to engage directly with the freight industry. These meetings along with a dedicated supply chain working group have ensured that any unnecessary barriers to freight movement were minimised during COVID-19.

To further support Queensland’s freight task in a safe, equitable and collaborative way moving forward, the department is delivering a two year rolling Queensland Freight Action Plan.

The Action Plan will detail ways to achieve greater economic benefit from the freight system, including how to address latent capacity and maximise productivity during peak demand periods, along with investigating innovative investment models and opportunities. It will identify opportunities for joint investment and support industry efforts to invest in efficient transport systems aligned with government priorities.

Inland rail agreement

The most significant freight infrastructure project has taken a major step forward with the Queensland and Australian governments signing a Bilateral Agreement to deliver inland rail to ensure Queensland's future growth is supported by a robust freight rail network capable of servicing the long-term liveability and productivity of Queensland's regions, towns and cities.

This freight infrastructure project will improve the national freight network by connecting communities, creating jobs, reducing supply chain costs and making Queensland businesses more competitive.

Regional Transport Plans

For the first time ever, Queensland has developed Regional Transport Plans that cover the entire state. The plans support the department's vision of ‘creating a single integrated transport network accessible to everyone’.

They consider all modes of transport, regional demographic and industry changes, local government land use and transport planning, and respond to relevant regional plans and the State Infrastructure Plan. They define the priorities for developing the state's transport system by outlining planning actions that will guide future investment over the next 15 years.

Plans for Mackay Isaac Whitsunday, North West, Central West, South West, Far North, Northern, Fitzroy, Wide Bay Burnett and Darling Downs were finalised in 2018–2020 and have been published on the department's website. The remaining draft Regional Transport Plan for South East Queensland is anticipated for release in 2020 subject to government consideration.

Read more about the regional transport plans.

Bridges Renewal Program

The Bridges Renewal Program has been a part of the Queensland Transport and Roads Investment Program since 2015–16 to fund bridge projects contributing to increasing productivity or community access across Queensland. The program is jointly funded with the Australian Government contributing 50 per cent (capped at $5 million) towards total project costs for the life of the project. Rounds 3 and 4 are currently active.

Under Round 3, five Queensland Government projects (at a total program cost of $46.282 million) were successful in receiving $20.35 million of Australian Government funding. These bridge replacement projects are:

  • Beames Brook bridge (John Yanner Milmarja Ngarnara Bridge) replacement - construction completed late 2018
  • Bowen Road bridge upgrade - construction due to be complete late 2020
  • Lochaber Creek bridge replacement - construction due to be completed by mid-2020
  • Valentine Creek bridge replacement - completed in December 2019
  • Three Moon Creek bridge replacement - construction due to commence mid-2020.

Round 4 of the Bridges Renewal Program (only open to local government) was announced in April 2019, with the Australian Government committing $19.12 million to 37 Queensland local government projects across 23 local government areas, for a total program cost of $68.06 million. The balance of program funding is being provided by local government. Seventeen projects commenced construction in 2019–20, and the remaining 20 are in design phase with construction due to commence mid-to-late 2020.

Mobility as a Service

In 2018, a dedicated program office was established to explore and test Mobility as a Service (MaaS) models and concepts in Queensland. The model describes a shift away from personally owned modes of transportation towards aggregated mobility solutions that are used as a service.

Fully implemented, these customer-centric integrated service options (with real-time information) can be planned, booked and paid via an app, enabling customers to make informed personalised transport choices. It also creates new opportunities for government to partner with industry and potentially reduces the requirement for road-based (non-public transport) infrastructure and improves network optimisation.

To realise these benefits and vision, the department has been collaborating with industry and key stakeholders to explore a government-enabled business model for MaaS. In this model, government could play the role of the regulator, network steward, and data broker for the mobility ecosystem. A range of targeted research projects and proofs-of-concept are also underway to identify, co-design, prototype, and test MaaS elements in urban, regional, and remote communities. 

Priority Ports Master Planning

The department is delivering master plans to ensure the long-term growth of Gladstone, Townsville, Hay Point/Mackay and Abbot Point priority ports. Priority port master planning supports sustainable development of critical economic infrastructure while balancing growth, job creation, environmental values, and community interests.

Master planning processes ensure:

  • the outstanding universal value of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area is an intrinsic consideration in future port development, management, and governance
  • optimisation is pursued for the use of infrastructure at the long-established major ports
  • transparent decision making
  • meaningful engagement with stakeholders.

Master planning for priority ports is a port-related action of the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan and mandated under the Sustainable Ports Development Act 2015.

Read more about master planning for priority ports.

Ports of Townsville and Gladstone port overlays

The final master plan for the priority Port of Townsville was released on 4 November 2019.

Gladstone and Townsville draft port overlays, a regulatory instrument that implement a port master plan, were released for public consultation in late 2019. The department is now considering the public submissions received to prepare final overlays for the ports, anticipated for release in late 2020.

Marine Infrastructure Investment Program 

The Marine Infrastructure Investment Program provides safe, reliable, and efficient recreational boating infrastructure that optimises access to the water and on the water, for both trailer boats and deep-draught vessels, such as yachts and launches. New and upgraded boating facilities are funded through the Marine Infrastructure Fund, the capital portion of the program.

The program provides:

  • public recreational boating facilities for launching and retrieving recreational trailer boats
  • maintenance of channel depths to ensure access to high-use recreational boating facilities
  • new and upgraded pontoons and floating walkways at or near boat ramps
  • pontoon and jetties for deeper-draught vessels for pick-up and set-down of passengers and supplies.

The department owns 471 recreational boating assets across Queensland and owns and maintains the public boating infrastructure assets (boat ramps, floating walkways, pontoons, jetties and breakwaters) in 10 state boat harbours. It is also responsible for maintaining the entrance and internal public navigation channels to those harbours.

Local governments manage boating facilities outside the state boat harbours. 

Table 4: List of completed projects in 2019/20

Completed Projects in 2019/20 Electorate Project Value Completion Date
Uhlmann Road, Burpengary, floating walkway Bancroft $1,137,954
Brighton Road, Macleay Island Boat Ramp, construction Redlands $1,804,229 21/12/2019
Banksia Road, Stanage Bay, boat ramp upgrade Mirani $3,104,762 22/10/2019
Riedel Road (Carbrook), construct boat ramp and floating walkway Macalister $1,611,000 24/06/2020
Dohles Rocks Road boat ramp upgrade Murrumba $1,163,821 16/04/2020
Grasstree Beach boat ramp upgrade to two lanes plus floating walkway1 Mirani $887,651 24/05/2019
Dingo Beach boat ramp upgrade Whitsunday $651,622 18/12/2019
Cabbage Tree Creek new boating facility Sandgate $1,139,230 15/06/2020
Cairns Bluewater Marina new floating walkway1 Barron River $1,170,531 5/04/2019
Bowen Boat Harbour breakwaters extension Burdekin $3,614,000 20/02/2020

1Grasstree Beach  and Cairns Bluewater projects were completed in 2018/19 but the defects liability completed in 2020.

Marine Infrastructure Fund

One in 19 Queenslanders are recreational boating enthusiasts.

The Queensland Government committed to a $30 million two year extension from July 2018 to June 2020 of the Marine Infrastructure Fund, a capital component of the Marine Infrastructure Investment Program. 

The department works in partnership with local government and port and water authorities to provide new and improved recreational boating facilities and infrastructure throughout Queensland. 

Responding to Climate Change

The department is meeting the Australian and Queensland governments' climate change considerations, reflected in Building Queensland and Infrastructure Australia business cases and funding expectations.

Embedding sustainability will ensure that Queensland's transport network is resilient to the current and future impacts of climate change. Reducing emissions and responding to a changing climate means that the department needs to consider how and what to build while encouraging Queenslanders to use low emission options where possible.

There are several projects underway, including using the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia's rating system on all projects over $100 million and investing in new and upgraded active and shared transport modes. As an action under the Queensland Climate Transition Strategy, the department is also developing a Zero Net Transport Emissions Roadmap which will guide the transport system to a low emission future in line with the Queensland Government's climate change targets.

The identification, assessment, and management of future climate-related hazards during project planning and design phases maximises safety, reliability, and connectivity. When previous extreme climate events are considered in project planning, the greater capacity there is to mitigate and avoid associated risks.

The development and use of frameworks, methodologies, and tools for undertaking climate change risk assessments and adapting them for infrastructure projects is delivering multiple benefits including:

  • the promotion of effective and efficient use of resources
  • future-proofing projects by considering future climate trends
  • providing assurance and economic confidence to decision makers that climate change risk and uncertainty has been actively considered and addressed delivering a resilient and fit-for-purpose transport network.

The department is working with the Department of Environment and Science to help improve its climate risk management framework and better identify and plan for the impact of climate change on its physical assets.

Preparing for an autonomous transport future

The department has partnered with CSIRO’s Data61 to develop sophisticated, quantitative, evidence-based scenarios of what transport could look like out to 2048. The scenarios build on several years of work done to grapple with the uncertainties posed by the changes on our transport horizon. Changes like the potential for many more people to use digital platforms to work from home or for autonomous vehicles to replace conventional vehicles.

The scenarios identify the range of transport challenges and opportunities facing transport over the next 30 years.  By doing so, they allow decisions about long term investments in infrastructure and services to be resilient across the range of futures we may encounter.

Some of the work that supports the new scenarios developed by Data61 include the first of its kind transport modelling showing how the different ways of deploying the new mobility technologies would impact key transport outcomes.

The project will be finalised in mid-2020 and the report will be available by the end of 2020.

Queensland Rail

The department has continued to support the provision of passenger rail services and the delivery of transport infrastructure projects through the Rail Transport Service Contract with Queensland Rail.

From 2 March 2020, 32 weekly Citytrain services were added to the South East Queensland timetable to improve offerings to customers. These services, which provide extra morning peak services, are in addition to the 462 weekly services added in 2019.

In South East Queensland, works to improve accessibility were completed at Morayfield, Boondall, and Strathpine stations as part of the Station Accessibility Upgrade Program. In regional Queensland, the Timber Bridge Elimination Program on the North Coast Line is replacing several life expired timber structures with new concrete deck bridges, improving reliability and reducing maintenance costs. In addition, the delivery of the North Coast Line Capacity Improvement Project is facilitating signalling improvements and the extension of eight passing loops between Rockhampton and Townsville to enable access for longer freight trains, providing a vital increase in freight capacity.

In late 2019, Queensland Rail completed the Toowoomba Range Clearance Upgrade project, which involved tunnel floor lowering works at 11 tunnels on the Toowoomba Range and Little Liverpool Range.

Regional air services

In 2019–20, the department continued to provide seven regulated air routes in Queensland via service contracts. The regulated air service contracts set minimum service levels, maximum airfare prices, minimum aircraft size, and on-time performance standards along regulated routes to ensure an appropriate level of service is provided to regional Queensland at an affordable price.

COVID-19 had a large impact on the regional airlines that provide essential services to rural and remote communities in Queensland. The department assisted QantasLink, Regional Express Airlines (Rex), Hinterland Aviation, and Skytrans through COVID-19 State Government Funding arrangements to ensure that regional and remote communities continue to have access to essential services during COVID-19COVID19.

This year, a total of 141,213 passengers travelled on these air services providing valuable access to our rural and remote customers.

Read more about regional air services

Personalised transport horizon

During the year, the department progressed the implementation of the Queensland Government’s reform program Queensland’s Personalised Transport Horizon – Five Year Strategic Plan for Personalised Transport Services 2016–2021. The reforms have contributed to the delivery of a modern, safe, affordable, and accountable personalised transport industry for all Queenslanders.

Engagement with industry has continued through two meetings of the Personalised Transport Industry Reference Group, where the department sought feedback on opportunities to assist the industry to continue to innovate and identify issues that have arisen from the reforms.

The department continued monitoring and evaluating the implemented reforms which aim to strengthen safety standards, provide customers with greater choice and flexibility, support innovation, and customer service through a regulatory framework for the personalised transport industry. Research was undertaken, through surveys and focus groups with personalised transport industry representatives and customers, into how the changes made under the personalised transport framework have impacted industry and customers.

In September 2019, the Personalised Transport Ombudsman Act 2019 was enacted. Work has progressed to establish the personalised transport Ombudsman, which is in its final stages. The department also published an industry guideline on driver conditions in the personalised transport industry to support drivers in understanding common obligations that may apply to them.

Read more about Queenslands Personalised Transport Horizon.