THE number of passengers travelling on Springfield’s rail line has grown almost three times faster than the state network average.
In a glimmer of good news for Ipswich’s public transport situation, new data shows 1.09 million passengers travelled on the Richlands Springfield Central line in the 2017-18 financial year.
Springfield Central was the most popular station, with 482,913 passengers.
Rail Back on Track spokesman Robert Dow said the figures were good news for Ipswich’s busy eastern corridor.
“It’s good people are using the system and it adds momentum for improvements to the bus network to get people to and from the station,” he said.
Since the 2016-17 financial year, patronage across the state’s rail network has grown 3.36 per cent.
Growth at Springfield Central has outstripped the average by recording an 8.13 per cent increase.
“Springfield looks good,” Mr Dow said.
While passenger numbers are positive at Springfield, other rail lines remain underutilised, Mr Dow said.
“It’s been pretty bad on the Ipswich-Rosewood line,” he said.
In the previous financial year, 1.77 million passengers used the line.
It was the first time in five years the network has recorded an increase in growth after a steady decline in numbers from a height of 2.1 million in 2012-13.
Mr Dow puts the most recent increase partly down to a new fare structure and regional growth.
“The population is increasing generally and people at Redbank Plains and places like that are driving to the Ipswich rail line,” he said.
Mr Dow said improvements still needed to be made on the region’s bus network.
He said park ‘n’ ride facilities at stops along the network were at capacity. Ipswich Station had the highest passenger fall, with 23,389 people deserting the track.
Redbank was the most improved station, with passenger numbers growing about 19,000 on the previous year, to 229,145.
“It’s good to see Rosewood has got growth – people are starting to use the Ipswich to Rosewood line,” Mr Dow said.
He said the passenger number information should be made free on the Translink website.
“TMR should make this sort of data available,” he said. “Having to pay $48 for this is fairly outrageous.”
Gold Coast Airport Lands $100m ‘Green’ Loan
The operator of the Gold Coast Airport, Queensland Airports Limited, is set to reduce carbon emission through $100 million in “sustainability-linked” loans from Commonwealth Bank and Westpac.
The financing deal with Gold Coast Airport is the first in Australia to be directly linked to a reduction in carbon emissions.
Commonwealth Bank is funding $75 million of the sustainability-linked loan and Westpac $25 million pushing the emissions-linked portion of the funding to $100 million.
Airport operators will use the funding to redevelop the airport and double its terminal floor area over several years, with interest rates to fluctuate depending on whether the airport is able to meet its emissions targets. Underperformance will trigger an increase in pricing.
The multi-year project has been designed to improve the customer experience and address current and future capacity issues.
The Gold Coast Airport deal is part of a move by CBA to develop solutions to help customers who are looking for greener and more energy-efficient opportunities.
“The world is changing rapidly and it’s imperative that we are always looking for innovative solutions that help our clients navigate this change,” CBA group executive of institutional banking and markets Andrew Hinchliff said.
“Commonwealth Bank’s financing deal is the first in Australia to be directly linked to a reduction in carbon emissions, with the potential for a margin reduction provided the airport meets targets linked to a reduction in carbon emissions intensity.”
In May, CBA chief executive Matt Comyn announced plans for the Green Mortgage initiative, a reward scheme for energy efficient home owners.
About $500 million has been invested in the airport precinct including the foundations of the southern terminal expansion and the Rydges-branded airport hotel, which is now under construction.
The southern terminal will house the airport’s international operations, with capacity to service domestic flights using a swing gate system, based on demand.
“Environment, Social and Governance is an area QAL is increasingly focused on, and we have already delivered several sustainability projects across our airports in the past few years,” Queensland Airports chief executive Amelia Evans said.
“Some of these projects include reducing greenhouse gas emissions at Gold Coast Airport by replacing lighting with LED, upgrading air-conditioning units and replacing energy efficient drive motors within our baggage handling system.’’
By 2037 the airport precinct will contribute north of $800 million annually to the region and support an estimated 20,000 full time jobs.
Infrastructure Australia Approves $2bn in Queensland Upgrades
More than $2 billion worth of planned upgrades has been given the green light by Infrastructure Australia, after the business cases for three Queensland projects were approved.
Infrastructure Australia, the nation’s independent infrastructure advisor, added the Queensland projects to the priority list, which is the pipeline of nationally-significant proposals for governments at all levels to choose from.
The three new priority projects:
- The Bruce Highway – Cairns Southern Access Corridor. Stage 3: Edmonton to Gordonvale.
- M1 Pacific Motorway (Eight Mile Plains to Daisy Hill) and;
- M1 Pacific Motorway (Varsity Lakes to Tugun).
“Being included as a Priority Project on the Infrastructure Priority List shows that a proposal has undergone a rigorous business case assessment and been proven to have significant benefits for the community,” Infrastructure Australia chief executive Romilly Madew said.
“[The] Priority List identifies close to $4 billion worth of nationally-significant projects for Queensland, which are critical to improving both productivity and quality of life,” Madew said.
Bruce Highway upgrade
The Bruce Highway proposal would create a four-lane highway between Edmonton and Gordonvale.
A portion of the road that has recorded high crash rates.
“Between 2007 and 2012, 79 crashes were reported along this section, almost double the rate reported on similar roads across Queensland,” Madew said.
M1 Eight Mile Plains to Daisy Hill upgrade
Up to 150,000 vehicles travel daily on this section of the M1, and due to southeast Queensland’s growing population, this figure is forecast to grow to more than 200,000 by 2041.
The proposal would widen an 8.5 kilometre section of the motorway, improve local busways which Madew says would relieve congestion in the area for the next 15–20 years.
“The project also supports active transport through the provision of an extended cycleway,” she said.
M1 Varsity Lakes to Tugun project
This proposal aims to improve a congested section of the motorway that connects northern NSW and the Gold Coast.
“Increased traffic volumes are causing a high number of accidents and worsening travel times, impacting on local residents travelling to work as well as tourists, tour operators and freight vehicles,” Madew said.
“Widening the motorway in both directions will reduce congestion along this vital corridor, and support the Gold Coast’s economic development.”
Madew said that being included on the Infrastructure Priority List supports better project selection.
“By ensuring Australia’s governments are presented with the best available evidence when making funding decisions,” she said.
Government Signs Off on $5.4bn Cross River Rail
A multi-billion dollar construction contract has officially been signed for Brisbane’s Cross River Rail, guaranteeing the delivery of the south east Queensland major infrastructure project.
Pulse Consortium signed the contract with the Queensland government in an agreement that will deliver tunnelling works, the project’s new underground stations and ongoing maintenance for the infrastructure project.
The Pulse Consortium, selected as the preferred proponents in April, is made up of ASX-listed CIMIC Group, Pacific Partnerships, CPB Contractors, and UGL with international partners including DIF, BAM, and Ghella Investments & Partnerships.
Major construction will kick off later this year as scheduled, beginning with the demolition of the Roma Street Transit Centre.
CIMIC Group chief executive Michael Wright said they would use an integrated approach on the $5.4 billion project.
“We will finance, design, construct and maintain the new tunnels and rail stations, in partnership with the state government,” Wright said.
The engineering giant, CIMIC Group, announced it will see approximately $2.73 billion in revenue from the project.
“CIMIC Group has led the development of the project’s proposal, with lead sponsor Pacific Partnerships providing 49 per cent of the equity finance, with the remaining 51 per cent to be provided by DIF, BAM PPP PGGM and Ghella Investments & Partnerships.”
CPB Contractors will deliver the design and construction in a joint venture with Ghella, BAM International and UGL.
UGL will also provide maintenance services on the project across 24 years.
Queensland Deputy premier Jackie Trad described the move to lock in the companies as a “key milestone”.
“Our commitment to this project will see tunnelling construction kick off next year too,” Trad said.
By 2036, state government anticipates south east Queensland will be home to nearly five million people.
Currently, Brisbane’s network includes a single rail river crossing with all lines running through the same four city centre stations.
Trad said the infrastructure project, which is without federal funding following the re-election of the Coalition government, will “unlock this bottleneck”.
Plans for Cross River Rail include the delivery of four new underground stations at Boggo Road, Woolloongabba, Albert Street and Roma Street, with upgrades to Dutton Park and Exhibition stations.
The project is forecast to create 7,700 jobs during construction and with plans to be in operation by 2024.
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