Extract from Hansard – Wednesday 15th February 2017

Mr ELMES (Noosa—LNP) (9.24 pm): I agree with the member for Gladstone. I was not aware that Fay Owens had passed away. She was a remarkable woman.

I rise tonight to call upon the Minister for Transport to correct an impending public transport bungle and make provision for the residents in my electorate of Noosa to access the new $1.8 billion Sunshine Coast University Hospital via an adequate public transport service.

I call upon the Minister for Health to take heed of my advice and join with the Minister for Transport to prevent a health crisis, particularly for seniors, and to prevent what will certainly be a public relations disaster when the new hospital opens its doors and a proportion of the community has an enormous difficulty even getting on site.

I have written to both ministers alerting them that action should be taken immediately to correct an appalling oversight in planning. I have also met with the Minister for Transport’s representatives, along with Noosa councillor, Ingrid Jackson, to express concern and call for action. I call upon the new Minister for Transport to make good on the previous minister’s statement made on 26 January that TransLink would ‘take another look at the Noosa patronage demand to determine the potential viability of alternative services.’

When the new hospital opens people travelling from Noosa to visit loved ones in hospital or who themselves need to access day procedures or to attend review appointments will endure a three and a half hour round trip on four different buses each day they visit. This level of service would not be tolerated in Brisbane and is far from an appropriate level of service for a community that lives just 45 minutes from Queensland’s flagship public health infrastructure. What will the ministers have to say for themselves when a person suffers a medical event while waiting for a bus that seemingly never comes or enduring a journey that even a young and healthy person would struggle to comfortably complete?

I call upon the ministers to either introduce a new direct service from the heart of Noosa to the new hospital or, at the very least, introduce an express service from Noosa to connect with the altered services from Maroochydore to the hospital. The cost of public transport services is not the issue here. Public services by their nature are part and parcel of a social justice system for which both ministers should be most aware. This impending planning bungle must be rectified. The residents of my electorate deserve to be treated with the same respect and value as their Sunshine Coast counterparts and they deserve to have access to their new hospital via an effective, efficient and affordable transport service.