Adjournment:  Queensland Rail, Pomona Foot Crossing - 10 August 2017

Mr ELMES (Noosa—LNP) (5.48 pm): I rise tonight to register my support for the community of Pomona, who strongly reject plans by Queensland Rail to potentially close Pomona’s railway foot crossing, a crossing that has connected the town for more than 100 years. On Tuesday I submitted the ‘don’t divide Pomona’ petition, which has been signed by 1,498 residents—more than half the country town’s population—sending the message loud and clear to Queensland Rail that their pedestrian crossing must be retained. The foot crossing connects the community with the main street where residents work, shop, dine and connect. It is located where it is because it evolved from a logical access and the natural flow of daily local life.

In 100 years there has not been an accident or an injury at the crossing. Given the role the crossing plays in ensuring Pomona’s social cohesion and economic prosperity, it is not surprising that the community came together in protest. In June I joined with 140 locals in support of the retention of the existing crossing. A Facebook group was created, a petition launched, meetings were held and soon the words ‘don’t divide Pomona’ were on everyone’s lips. In Queensland Rail’s first hour of community consultation last Saturday 70 people arrived to express their concerns. Queensland Rail have suggested an alternative crossing could be at the far end of town where money was wasted on an existing vehicle crossing a few years ago. This is not a viable or safe option and would achieve a chaotic and dangerous convergence of pedestrians, cyclists, mothers with prams, dog walkers and horse riders mixing with cars and trucks without any paths connecting and providing a safe corridor for any of them.

As I know—and as the hardworking member for Gympie, Tony Perrett, also knows—it appears that Queensland Rail may have been overlooking some other serious threats to safety at this station. I table photographs of the current state of disrepair of the temporary makeshift structure that is the Pomona railway station and platform.

Tabled paper: Photographs depicting temporary railway station.
 
The cheap timber decking precariously sits on rusting scaffolding, and where it is rotten through yellow crosses warn pedestrians to keep clear. There are a number of safety challenges seriously threatening the department’s public liability which can be addressed by way of a planned approach to the site’s upgrade and funded from the sale of the adjacent vacant land—once home to the old goods yard—to appropriate commercial interests. This approach would address a raft of safety concerns, open up more opportunities for job creation and revitalise the community instead of dividing it. I urge the minister to direct her department to listen and work with the community—not to divide Pomona.