“Chair I wish to speak on Program 1 which will deliver transport for residents in my ward of Bracken Ridge.

I’d like to congratulate the Chair Cr Murphy on what he has been able to deliver in this COVID Budget. This Budget is about Brisbane’s recovery and will not only continue to improve transport for residents, build a cleaner, greener city, but also create jobs through building suburban infrastructure.

I am excited about the 2600 jobs that Brisbane Metro will be delivering but also the funding in this Budget for Metro Stage 2 and what it will deliver for the northside.

I was very happy to see that the Personalised Public Transport or PPT Service will continue to operate Monday to Friday in Bald Hills.  Mr Chair, this is another area where Council has been picking up the slack for the Labor State Government.  Despite the former Councillor for Bracken Ridge Ward, Amanda Cooper, advocating to the State Government for a suitable bus route in Bald Hills and lodging my own petition to the State Government, as one of my first missions when I became the Councillor, the Minister for Transport and Main Roads still refuses to acknowledge the need for a suitable bus service.

Council will fortunately continue to provide a PPT service to meet part of the demand in the network for those residents who don’t have access to a car. You see Chair, one of the things about Bracken Ridge Ward is that once you move here you tend stay.  It is a perfect part of Brisbane to live and it is not unusual for my residents to have lived here for 40 years and have no desire to move on after the children have grown and left the nest.  I want them to still have the freedom and ability to catch a bus and enjoy free off peak travel just like other seniors in Brisbane and move easily around this great city.  To be able to enjoy the LM’s seniors concerts, the Botanical gardens, or enjoy the art gallery.

I commend the PPT services and the 20/21 Budget that will continue to fund it in my ward. 

Chair this brings me to the very popular initiative of free off-peak travel for seniors on our buses and ferries.  I meet with seniors groups in my Ward such as St Joseph’s Parish Seniors, Bald Hills Bushies, Aspley classes for Seniors, lady birds or the various over 50’s villages and there is a common thread, they love this initiative. Free off peak travel on buses encourages our seniors to move around the city and connect with family and friends. It is so wonderful to give back to our senior residents and in fact at one of my mobile offices prior to Christmas I caught up with some very happy ladies fresh off the bus from one of the LM’s Christmas Parties. They had just had the best time and it really warmed my heart and made me proud.

I am so pleased that our seniors are embracing this initiative and I note that Cr Allen highlighted in his speech on Friday that over 2 million trips had been taken by our seniors during off peak periods from 1 October last year to the end of last month. This has increased patronage on off peak buses and consequently reduced congestion.

At the other end of the scale chair, the budget is ensuring the Active School Travel program continues to encourage young people to use active transport. Prior to COVID I joined with council officers at St Joseph’s in Bracken Ridge in preparing for their first day of active school travel. They are one of 16 new schools in this program, teaming up with Council as we continue to deliver transport options for residents in a clean, green and connected city.  We had a really wonderful assembly in February with the AST team in particular Scoot and Walker who encouraged the students on how they could be involved and consider the choices they had in travelling to school. I have to say chair I have very fond memories of active travel to school and was very lucky to have many friends who joined me in riding our bikes to Nashville Primary and later Bracken Ridge High.  It was a bit like a progressive dinner where Louise and Trish who lived furthest away would ride to my house and then we would ride together to Robyn’s where our friend Kerri would often join us.  Kerri actually rode her bike from Bald Hills and had to go past the school to Robyn’s but it was always great fun to meet up and ride together and exchange homework tips before we began the day, with the only downside being Magpie season.  It was a healthy and active way to travel and forged strong friendships that continue today.

Unfortunately with the pandemic the St Joseph’s Active School Travel Program had to be postponed.  However I know the students are very motivated and I will be joining with them and cheering them on as soon as the program gets underway properly.

Before COVID Chair I was fortunate to also go for a bike ride around my ward with Andrew from Northside Bicycle User Group.  We have some great bikeway infrastructure in Bracken Ridge Ward that links into the broader Brisbane Network and provides another way that residents can actively travel and create a healthier city while tackling traffic congestion.  I discussed with Andrew and saw first hand some of the changes Council is making in progressively replacing the yellow banana bars with alternatives such as  bollards if required to prevent unauthorised vehicle access and improve safety.

The 30 million allocated this term in the newly formed Active Transport Infrastructure Fund includes investment in bikeway reconstruction, to improve and maintain important links where it matters.  This will include Carseldine and Aspley and I am also extremely excited about the future planning of a shared pathway from Telegraph Road through to Roghan Road that will improve the link to bikepaths across Brisbane.

Improving lighting is a vital part of providing a safe bikeway network and signage, safety facilities and bicycle parking will all go towards creating a city where we choose the bike over the car.

I commend the program to the Chamber.”