Ipswich Mayor Andrew Antoniolli is leading a charge to encourage faster action on public transport. There are issues with traffic congestion, rail and bus services, and councillors say Redbank Plains is one area which needs immediate attention.
Cr David Morrison who is the chair of the council’s Planning, Development and Heritage Committee, sparked the conversation in a council meeting on Tuesday when he held up an article on the front page of the Queensland Times, titled Running Late.
Cr Morrison said the article, if correct, indicated it would take at least six years before a rail line commenced construction from Springfield Central to Redbank Plains. This was a long time to wait, he said.
Mayor Antoniolli said there was too much uncertainty around public transport in Ipswich, and isolated some key flow-on issues which would cause the city to suffer if current issues were ignored:
- Housing development would slow: If developers weren’t able to tell potential buyers when there would be train station or sufficient bus services, they’d turn to external solutions, he said. One of these solutions could be to return public transport management into the hands of the Council.
- Affordable housing solutions would become more difficult: Cr Antoniolli said there needed to be a good public transport system to support affordable housing.
- Traffic snarls would worsen: Redbank Plains, Collingwood Park, Augustine Heights, Ripley, Redbank and other surrounding suburbs will in the near future house more than 100,000 people. This meant if public transport deficiencies were not addressed, there would be hundreds more cars on the road every day.
- Poor habits would develop: Cr Antoniolli said public transport needed to be an option for people as soon as they moved into a new area, otherwise they would fall into the bad habit of driving wherever they needed to go, including schools and work.
- Education would suffer: USQ is a fast-growing university with campuses at Springfield and in the city, Cr Antoniolli said. If there was not the right public transport in place, students – whether to university or schools – would not have the right support they need to undertake quality studies.
Cr Antoniolli, Cr Morrison, Cr Sheila Ireland and Cr Kerry Silver all joined discussion in Tuesday’s council meeting. They said buses needed to be improved immediately, and the Redbank Plains rail line needed to be supported by a commitment of funding.
Cr Silver said she had already written to Minister for Transport Mark Bailey to voice her concerns, particularly for the fast-growing Ripley Valley area. All councillors, including the Mayor, said they would welcome discussions with state government ministers and officials to help highlight areas of key interest.
A state government “Shaping SEQ” background paper already highlights an Ipswich to Springfield Public Transport Corridor (including the extension of the public transport corridor to Ripley Valley) as an infrastructure priority in the next 25 years.
The report states the corridor would see increased take-up of public transport, particularly in areas near planned rail stations. It would also ease demand on the Ipswich Motorway.
“I will be calling the relevant state representatives in coming days and weeks to share our concerns,” Cr Antoniolli said. “We have a great relationship with local members, and ministers of the state government, so I’m sure those conversations will be well received.”
Stay tuned on how to get from A to B