CQ MPs keen for action on rail safety
AFTER Katie Kermond came forward last week to advocate for increased safety infrastructure around Rockhampton's rail crossings, the LNP have criticised State Labor's response as "meek and bureaucratic".
Five years apart, out of towners Sydney choreographer Ms Kermond and two bull riders from central west Queensland were wiped out by trains they neither saw or heard at the same Denison and William St intersection.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said safety at rail crossings was a priority for his government and while acknowledging the community concern surrounding the issue, he stood by the results of the Australian Transport and Safety Bureau undertook investigation in response to this incident - which identified no adverse findings
"I'm aware a range of warning and safety controls are in place at the Williams Street level crossing, including safety signage and pavement markings, while the maximum speed for rail traffic was reduced to 25 kilometres per hour," Mr Bailey said.
CQ's federal MPs, Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry and Rockhampton-based Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan were concerned by the recent stories by The Morning Bulletin and expressed a willingness to not only listen to Rockhampton about their rail safety concerns but to raise any potential issues with their state counterparts.
They said although rail safety falls within state responsibilities, they planned to talk to key stakeholders like driver Kate Kermond, who has called for boom gates to be installed at the site and to canvass the local state MP Barry O'Rourke.
Ms Landry said if boom gates were required and lives were at risk, it was not good enough for the state government to be making excuses as to why they won't install them.
She said the federal government had already provided nearly $1 million to improve safety at three intersections where vehicles crossed the Denison Street train line - including William Street.
"Under our federal road black spots program we provided nearly $1 million to the Rockhampton Regional Council to help make conditions safer for drivers at these level crossings," Ms Landry said.
The federal funds included $248,200 to improve the Denison Street and William Street intersection, $454,000 for the Denison Street and Derby Street intersection and $248,200 for the Denison Street and Denham Street intersection.
"All of these sites are intersections where motorists cross the railway tracks that are often frequented by inland freight and passengers trains," Ms Landry said.
Ms Landry said she will talk to some of the key stakeholders who have raised recent concerns.
"I'll be calling Kate Kermond who was hit by a train at the William-Denison Street intersection in 2017, as well as the rail union which has also raised concerns about safety," Ms Landry said.
Senator Canavan urged the state government to take another look at concerns raised by drivers.
"While it's clear this is a state responsibility - the response of the state government to drivers so far has been pretty meek and bureaucratic, to say the least," Senator Canavan said.
"We should be listening very closely to the concerns of people like Ms Kermond if lives are at risk. I'm keen to ensure that everything is done to ensure the safety and well-being of motorists."
Minister Bailey refused to respond to the LNP's criticism or provide any additional comments on the issue.