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New ferry from Redcliffe Jetty to Moreton Island proves popular with first service sold out



MORETON Island is now in reach, with a ferry to and from the Redcliffe Jetty starting on September 24.

The announcement, revealed exclusively by the Redcliffe & Bayside Herald, was met with excitement from locals who have missed a Moreton ­Island connection since the Combie Trader II ceased ­operation in 2008. But concerns have been raised about the cost.

A return trip between the Redcliffe Jetty and Bulwer, which takes about 45 minutes, will cost $80 per adult, $62 for a child, or $220 for a family.

In comparison, one-way tickets from the closest service at the Port of Brisbane cost $28 for an adult or $18 for a child ($56 return for adult; and $36 return for a child).

But it takes double the time once on the boat plus time and costs associated with travelling to Brisbane.

The ferry service from Pinkenba to Tangalooma Island Resort takes about 75 minutes and costs $80 for adults and $45 for a child.

The Redcliffe2Moreton Express, which connects Redcliffe to Moreton Island.

While many have taken to the Herald’s Facebook page to express their dislike at the cost, many others are willing to pay $24 more per adult ticket for the convenience and in support of local business on the Peninsula.

Taking a vehicle from Port of Brisbane – which the Redcliffe service does not offer – costs from $75 each way including the driver, and up to $300 for a trip in peak season.

The ferry will depart the Redcliffe Jetty at 10am for the first time on ­September 24, and every Sunday thereafter, with the permit allowing for additional services.

The boat leaves Bulwer at 3pm and arrives back at the Peninsula by 4pm.

Moreton Island from the air. Picture: Queensland Tourism

The 22m ferry known as Redcliffe2Moreton Express carries up to 100 passengers and will be run by local business Dolphin Wild Island Cruises owners Jim and Lisa Edwards.

Moreton Bay Region Industry and Tourism, a contractor of Moreton Bay Regional Council tasked with running most of the council’s events and promoting tourism and business in the region, will operate the service.

MBRIT chief executive Shane Newcombe said the price was “competitive” and the service relied on patronage to remain viable.

“The demand we get for the ferry will play a huge role in increased services and (changes to) pricing,” Mr Newcombe said.

An online poll, conducted by the Herald, found more than 40 per cent of the 400-plus respondents wanted the service to operate on Friday afternoon, to allow for weekend stays on the island.

Those who said they wanted to try the service said they were happy to support a family-owned and operated business.

Annalese Greiner told the Herald: “I would (be) happy to support this family-owned business trying to bring something back to the region that has been missed and sought after by community for so long.”

“Another great thing for tourists and locals to do right from our backyard. Buy local, support local business.”

Mr Newcombe thanked Redcliffe state Labor MP Yvette D’Ath and Environment Minister Steven Miles for their support with State Government approvals, as well as Moreton Bay Regional Council.

Ms D’Ath said the credit belonged to Mrs Edwards for coming up with the idea and plan for a ferry service.

“Anyone on the northside now doesn’t have to … spend most of the day travelling to Moreton. They can come here, have breakfast and enjoy the markets, get on a boat and be on Moreton Island less than an hour later, and then return here for a meal,” Ms D’Ath said.

Councillor Koliana Winchester (Div 5) said the issue of carpark spaces near the Redcliffe Jetty was something she would discuss with MBRIT if needed,but pointed out there were several nearby carparks, including in front of the Redcliffe police station to the north and near Settlement Cove Lagoon to the south.

Mrs Edwards, whose business has operated on the Peninsula for close to 30 years, said there were a lot of costs associated with operating the vessel and she hoped residents and visitors would support the service.

“If we can’t cover costs, we can’t operate,” she said.

She said there would be a taxi service once passengers arrived at Bulwer.

“We are really excited to offer this to the community, and the businesses it will support,” Mrs Edwards said.



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City Deal a $58bn ‘Game Changer’ for Southeast Queensland



City Deal a $58bn ‘Game Changer’ for Southeast Queensland

South-east Queensland could be green-lit for the biggest “city deal” in Australia, with a $58 billion proposal to guide its growth, and the prime minister announcing his support for the major plan.

With a focus on supporting diverse sectors within the region including housing and planning, tourism, manufacturing and education, the SEQ City Deal could also pave the way for government-owned land to be opened for development.

Queensland deputy premier Jackie Trad this week released Transforming SEQ, which highlights 35 “opportunities” that could be considered as part of the future City Deal, including six “game changers” for the region.

“Modelling by KPMG has shown a SEQ City Deal could stimulate an increase of up to $58 billion in our economy by improving the productivity and competitiveness of the region,” Trad said.

‘Game Changer’ for Southeast Queensland

Prime minister Scott Morrison will be meeting with the SEQ Mayors and Queensland government to discuss the proposal this week.

The City Deal, which involves all three levels of government — council, state and federal — would see government working on priorities to drive the SEQ economy.

Under a City Deal plan, all three levels of government sign an agreement to set the priority infrastructure projects and initiatives.

City Deal a $58bn ‘Game Changer’ for Queensland

Integrated land-use planning approach?

Property Council chief executive Ken Morrison described the announcement as “a game-changer for the region.

“Our growing cities and urban regions are the engine rooms of the Australian economy,” Morrison said.

“The city deal model brings together all levels of government around the same plan to boost productivity and jobs through targeted investment in city-shaping projects and infrastructure.”

Property Council Queensland director Chris Mountford said the council has been collaborating with state government and SEQ councils for nearly six years on the potential for a city deal.

“The State and local governments have also agreed in principle to a more coordinated integrated land-use planning approach,”

“Opening up under-utilised government-owned land for development has also been agreed as a clear opportunity to unlock economic activity, create jobs and build business confidence.”

City Deal a $58bn ‘Game Changer’

Growing population

The region’s current 3.5 million population is forecast to increase to 5.3 million within the next 25 years, ultimately requiring an extra 800,000 homes and additional one million jobs.

Focus has been placed on the recently released people mass movement study which identifies the impact of the expected population growth on the region’s ability to cope with future transport demand.

Minister for Cities Alan Tudge said he, along with the prime minister, will be meeting with the SEQ Mayors to discuss the Deal.

“We need to cater for this rising population and the SEQ City Deal will be a huge step forward,” Tudge said.

South-east Queensland is already home to over two-thirds of the state’s population.

The region is home to nearly one in every seven Australians.

The agreement marks the second city deal for Queensland following the policy being first established in Townsville.

So far, city deals have been developed for Western Sydney, Townsville and Launceston, and a further four more are currently under negotiation in Adelaide, Hobart, Perth and Geelong.



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Government considers sinking old trains for a rollingstock reef



Government considers sinking old trains for a rollingstock reef

Queensland’s old trains could be sunk in Moreton Bay to create the state’s newest artificial reef.

Queensland Rail’s fleet of old electric multiple units (EMU) are being progressively replaced with the New Generation Rollingstock, which are being fixed to comply with disablity laws after being described as flawed “from day one”.

However, rather than end up on the scrap heap, a proposal is being considered by the government to turn a few of the old trains into an underwater tourist attraction in south-east Queensland.

A petition, lodged in the Queensland Parliament, is calling for a small number of the fleet of 87 EMUs to be reused as an artificial reef in Moreton Bay when they are retired.

Transport Minister Mark Bailey said he was happy to look at the idea.

“I like the idea of seeing these old trains support new life as artificial reefs in Moreton Bay or somewhere else appropriate along our coast and have previously requested Queensland Rail to examine it further,” he said.

“That said, any plan to sink trains to the sea floor would need to be carefully considered from an environmental, maritime, tourism and cost perspective.”

Queensland’s Department of Environment and Science has advised Queensland Rail it would consider a proposal to use two or four retired EMU or inner-city express [ICE] train units for an artificial reef.

Decisions would have to be made on whether the site would be used for marine life or also as a dive site.

Depth, access, stability in storms and maintenance would also need to be considered.

It is understood the department preferred to use artificial reefs constructed from highly productive, stable, purpose-built reefs with expected life spans of more than 30 years over scrap metal.

old trains for a rollingstock reef

No firm proposals have been received and no funding has been committed to the project or a feasibility study.

Greens MP Michael Berkman, who sponsored the petition, said supporting the voices of constituents was a great part of his job.

“The wrecks at Moreton Island are an amazing tourist attraction, and another artificial reef that commemorates Brisbane’s well-loved trains is definitely worth considering,” he said.

“The state and federal government would need to conduct a rigorous environment impact assessment, and traditional owners should get final say, but a “rollingstock reef” could be a beautiful addition to Moreton Bay.”

Rail lobbyist Robert Dow said the retired EMU trains were currently being stored in stabling yards.

“As to suitability for a reef, I’m not in a position to say either way, but my gut feeling is they’re too fragile and I don’t think they’d last too long in the ocean,” he said.

“They’re not like a ship, a ship is designed to be in the sea to a certain degree.”

There are several artificial reefs in Queensland, including at Moreton Bay, the Great Sandy Marine Park, ex-HMAS Brisbane, and ex-HMAS Tobruk.

Dive operators declared the sinking of the ex-HMAS Tobruk a “stuff-up” after it landed on its side, although the Queensland government said a report showed it could still be accessed by beginner divers.


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$63b infrastructure plan to keep SEQ moving till 2041



$63b infrastructure plan to keep SEQ moving till 2041

It’s going to cost $63.7 billion to keep South East Queensland moving over the next two decades, according to a study released today by the region’s mayors.

The population of the region is expected to grow by about 1.8 million people to more than five million people by 2041, putting extraordinary demand on the already strained transport network.

The SEQ People Mass Movement Study lists a total of 47 projects designed to keep city-to-city trips under 45 minutes and urban commutes under 30 minutes, including a faster rail network connecting the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast via Brisbane and west to Ipswich and Toowoomba.

Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said the infrastructure plan, coined the Strategic Transport Road Map, would keep the region “economically productive” while maintaining its liveability.

“Business as normal is not going to work, we need to increase the amount of money that is being spent in South East Queensland,” Cr Quirk said.

He said the plan would require an average expenditure of about $2.7 billion per year until 2041, which he said was “not an unrealistic figure”.

“What we are seeing in Sydney and Melbourne right now is this massive spend on infrastructure. That’s because they allowed it to get too far behind. We cannot do that in South East Queensland.”

He said there had been no shortage of plans for the region’s transport network, but it was time for all levels of government to unite with a shared vision.

Redland City mayor Karen Williams said the plan delivered the projects over a “reasonable amount of time with a reasonable amount of investment”.

“It’s not a matter of ‘can we afford this?’ It’s the fact that we can’t afford not to do it,” Cr Williams said.

Faster Rail is not as fast as high speed rail, which delivers speeds up to 350km/h, but could run at about 160km/h with top speeds of up to 200-250kmh, with limited stops.

It would be connected to the light rail networks on the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast in order to ease congestion on major arterials.

Other projects include the Brisbane Metro, Cross River Rail and road upgrades, including the Pacific, Sunshine, Centenary, Ipswich and Logan motorways and the Bruce, Warrego and Mt Lindesay highways.

The study also took into account emerging technologies including autonomous vehicles.

It was first proposed in 2016, and began in September 2017, with the aim of bringing together multiple local, state and national transport studies into one cohesive plan.

The South East Queensland region takes in the Brisbane City, Ipswich City, Lockyer Valley Regional, Logan City, Moreton Bay, Redland City, Scenic Rim Regional, Somerset Regional, Sunshine Coast and Toowoomba Regional council areas.


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