Southeast Queensland outer suburbs are all but missing out entirely on the billions of dollars flowing into public transport projects, which risk entrenching transport inequality if action is not taken, according to a new report.
New research by the McKell Institute Queensland has found just under 99 per cent of money spent on SEQ public transport projects is going into megaprojects (projects that cost $1 billion or more) and all megaprojects are focused on inner-city areas and the Brisbane-Gold Coast Corridor.
McKell Institute Queensland executive director Sarah Mawhinney said that while the current investment in public transport was welcome, more needed to be done to ensure the benefits of public transport are being spread fairly.
"The state government's historic investment in public transport is a great thing, but it needs better balance," Ms Mawhinney said.
"The current transport infrastructure megaprojects will primarily benefit inner-city dwellers who already have high levels of mobility and access to resources. Meanwhile, high population growth areas outside of inner-city Brisbane are being all but ignored.
"A truly progressive approach to public transport investment demands the Queensland Government invest more in public transport for the outer suburbs, where it has the potential to really improve productivity and quality of life.
"Given the high cost of building rail, the most efficient way to boost public transport accessibility in the outer suburbs is through stronger investment in bus services. Buses are a highly efficient way of providing public transport options to areas that currently lack mobility.
"However, in order to provide reliable bus services the state government will need to raise the wages and improve employment conditions of bus operators. This is practical and realistic reform that would make a real difference to everyday families."
The report also recommends the government provide an update on a whole-of-region SEQ public transport plan that clearly articulates solutions and required inputs to ensure equitable transport capacity.
"Articulating the public transport needs of SEQ will attract greater investment from all levels of government as well as private interests," Ms Mawhinney said.
"Without an underlying strategy that integrates the whole region, winners and losers will inevitably arise."
Sarah Mawhinney 0413 738 841
Anil Lambert 0416 426 722