The Palaszczuk Government has announced it will intervene to ensure Southern Moreton Bay Island residents continue to receive free inter-island travel.
Member for Redlands Kim Richards said the government was stepping in to take over and fully fund the costs of providing integrated ticketing and inter-island travel at a cost of almost $400,000 a year.
“This is excellent news for islanders who faced an uncertain future after Redland City Council ended the funding agreement it had in place since 2013,” she said.
“Fares would have been re-introduced for islanders traveling between Lamb, Macleay, Karragarra and Russell islands if the government had not intervened.
“I have been consistently raising this issue with Council, and the Minister, because there was a real risk that residents could be isolated from necessary local services and facilities.
“I am proud to be a member of the Palaszczuk Government that has acted to make sure SMBI residents remain connected.
“I am sure this funding commitment will be a great relief to islanders and a welcome Christmas present after months of uncertainty."
Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey thanked Ms Richards for her tireless campaigning on behalf of island residents.
“Suddenly being asked to pay for these services after years of free travel would have hit the back pockets of islanders if it wasn’t for Kim Richards’ fight on this issue,” Mr Bailey said.
“Council weren’t prepared to cover these costs, which would have left islanders with no choice but to pay for essential transport between islands, often on limited incomes.
“People would have had to re-think their regular trips to other islands, trips they have to make to access essential services.
“We knew this was the right thing to do, thanks to Kim’s advocacy for her community in her first year in office.
“The Redlands Coast and Southern Moreton Bay Islands community can thank her for ensuring these important subsidies for public transport services continue.”
Mr Bailey said the Palaszczuk Government’s funding of the ferry services continued its proud record of support for public transport in the Redlands Coast.
“The Government completed an $8.5 million upgrade of the Redland Bay Marina bus station in 2017, has committed to fully fund the cost of upgrading the Russell Island ferry terminal facilities and is about to start construction on the $9.77 million Victoria Point Bus Station,” he said.
[This is a clear intervention by the Palaszczuk Government and Member for Redlands Kim Richards. It was known that Translink may have been considering ending the free inter-island transport - see feature story January - Ed]
Member for Redlands Kim Richards said the State Government had been working with Redlands City Council to fund ferry terminal upgrades at Russell, Macleay, Lamb and Karragarra Islands.
“And the government is committed to delivering for this community and we will continue to work with the Council and across Government to provide the services people need,” Kim Richards added.
• Kim Richards with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk at Weinam Creek.