The following is a speech given by Steve Minnikin MP in Queensland Parliament on November 1 2012.
(5.02pm): I rise in support of the Transport Operations (Passenger Transport) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill. This bill represents a great opportunity for Queensland. Indeed, it represents an opportunity to fix longstanding issues with the state’s public transport network and an opportunity to respond to public transport customers across the state who have been telling us they want affordable, frequent and reliable public transport. Those three planks comprise the Newman government’s vision for improving public transport state-wide.
In 2008, the TransLink Transit Authority was established to manage public transport in South-East Queensland. TransLink was intended to be the one-stop shop for all things public transport for South-East Queenslanders. At the same time, the Department of Transport and Main Roads played an equivalent role outside of South-East Queensland, managing regional Queensland’s public transport network under the qconnect banner. The department also played a leading role, hosting oversight of South-East Queensland public transport policy.
By definition, maintaining differing roles between agencies created role duplication and now creates opportunities for improvement with the dissolution of TransLink as a separate statutory authority. Dissolving TransLink will achieve clear benefits for operators and customers alike. We have heard about the challenges our public transport operators face dealing with multiple areas of government— challenges that make a tough job even tougher. I look forward to delivering a streamlined central point of contact for those operators, to seek their answers and support from government.
Importantly, public transport customers also stand to benefit from this centralised approach, with the Department of Transport and Main Roads being wholly responsible for all taxis, limousines, urban bus, long-distance coach, ferry, regional air and passenger rail services. Over time, for customers this will mean a single body for the management of services and the network. Most importantly, dissolving TransLink will result in increased accountability. It is quite simple: one organisation, one source of information, one coordination point for all services and benefits and, ultimately, one agency accountable to Queenslanders.
To build on this concept of accountability, I would like to reflect back to September this year when the honourable member for Indooroopilly and Minister for Transport and Main Roads shared his vision for the Department of Transport and Main Roads as the single agency accountable for public transport service delivery. The minister spoke about achieving a real focus on service delivery based on a five- year planning horizon. I wholly agree with and support the minister’s vision of public transport premised on the customer.
The customer is the one who understands whether a service is beneficial to them. The customer is the one who provides feedback on the services. Most importantly, the customer is the one who pays for the services and decides, ultimately, whether to use public transport as a means of travel. I also fully support implementing a five-year service planning horizon. While thinking long term and strategically is an important aspect of delivering a public transport system, finding a balance with more immediate outcomes for customers is essential. Driving this customer focus and five-year perspective from within the department will achieve this balance. In real terms, these changes will draw a line in the sand where a new division in the department can focus solely on the customer and its five-year scope.
Aside from the dissolution of TransLink, the bill will make amendments to the civil banning order provisions to streamline administrative processes. The amendments will help ensure that applications can be made against repeat offenders who blatantly ignore their fines. A person who receives 10 or more fines for fare evasion, for instance, and who proceeds to ignore the fines will now be able to become the subject of a civil banning order application. Currently, the legislation makes it difficult to prepare applications against offenders who ignore their fines. The amendments will also transfer the responsibility to provide a court with evidence about personal hardship to the subject of a civil banning order application and allow authorised persons to direct a person contravening a civil banning order off public transport. These amendments to the civil banning order provisions are important for protecting the state’s revenue on the network and protecting Queenslanders by helping to ensure their personal safety and security across the passenger transport network.
The Newman government is committed to making amendments that will result in real benefits for Queenslanders. As I noted earlier, improving affordability and frequency are main objectives and the driving force behind public transport change. Steps have already been taken to achieve improved accountability by delivering free public transport following nine journeys in South-East Queensland. Next, we are going to slash the planned January 2013 and 2014 fare increases so that fares do not rise unnecessarily for South-East Queenslanders. In terms of frequency, we are also delivering on our commitments, with passengers on the Ferny Grove line—
Mr Mander: Hear, hear!
Mr MINNIKIN:—now enjoying 15 minute off-peak frequency for their train services, and I take that interjection from the member. Overall, we are making headway on our commitments to public transport users and this bill will only assist us further by facilitating opportunities to ensure customers receive the more affordable, frequent and reliable network they demand and deserve. As the Assistant Minister for Public Transport, I commend this bill to the House.