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Director-General Message

Director-General Neil Scales in front of his desk at his office

Director-General Neil Scales

Change is not slowing down, and neither are we. Over the past year we have been very busy, across our vast state, working towards our vision of creating a single integrated transport network accessible to everyone.

Delivering for the regions

In 2018-19, as always, TMR has had a keen focus on our regional areas. What we all love about our regional areas are the same things that present opportunities and challenges for a transport network.In Queensland, we have rugged outback plains, lush rainforests, beautiful waterways, bustling CBDs and everything in between—all spread across more than 1.8 million square kilometres. Our role is to keep the state moving, whether that’s by road, rail or sea, while keeping our sights set firmly on the future.

To ensure our state has access to safe and appropriate transport, we again invested heavily in regional infrastructure. Some highlights were the completion and opening of the western half of the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing, the completed design of the Pacific Motorway (M1) program of works and the commitment of $24.2 million for marine infrastructure across the state.

Rail is critical for our regions and we are continuing our support of the network with several projects, including the revitalisation of the Yeppoon Branch line, realignment of 4.7 kilometres of the North Coast Line to accommodate the duplicated Cairns Southern Access Corridor and the protection of the Townsville Eastern Access rail corridor.

The people of Queensland

With Australia standing on the cusp of major change—both in how we move people and goods, and in how we build and maintain the transport network—it’s important for TMR to understand how we prepare for changing customer expectations, digital disruption and global trends. Accessibility for our customers forms the heart of all future services we offer and with the help of our Accessibility Transport Network team, TMR intends to deliver tangible changes to how we approach accessibility and inclusion within the transport sector—ensuring accessibility and functionality is at the forefront of our business practices.

We also continue our commitment to the long-term vision of zero deaths and serious injuries on Queensland roads. To achieve this vision, we developed community safety campaigns as part of our StreetSmarts program, which aims to reduce the road toll by moving away from consequence themed communication to a more positive, empowering approach. Our drink driving campaign ‘Be a #LiftLegend’ encouraged Queenslanders to plan ahead and organise a lift home, while our speed campaign ‘Drive smarter, not faster’, challenged drivers to try neuroscience based in-car experiments designed to help them stop speeding.

We continue to deliver our Cooperative and Automated Vehicle Initiative (CAVI) with a view to improving driver and pedestrian safety by allowing vehicles to communicate with roadside infrastructure.

Serving our community at 90 Customer Service Centres across the state, we also work closely with the people of Queensland to design our services from a customer perspective. TMR’s online customer research panel and community, Transport Talk, is our online platform that gives Queenslanders the opportunity to share their thoughts on transport-related topics through surveys and discussion groups. The success of Transport Talk was recognised as a finalist in the Project of the Year category at the Australian Service Excellence Awards last year—and I’m quite proud of this.

Delving into the Woorabinda Community

This was the fifth year I have had the honour of being Government Champion for the Woorabinda community. In the past year, we have done some important work with the community to support improved economic and social outcomes. We assisted to reinvigorate Black Boy Camp as a training facility, sourcing and delivering temporary on-site accommodation to make the camp functional.

The community is using the site to engage their young people, providing local solutions to local problems. We continued to build on previous years’ successes under the Memorandum of Understanding between Woorabinda Aboriginal Shire Council, Central Highlands Regional Council and TMR, supporting the delivery of a sustainable works program for road construction and maintenance, and offering increased local employment and training opportunities.

Looking to the future

While firmly focused on delivery, we also have an eye on the future. TMR’s key priorities over the coming years are focused on the future of transport and how this will be shaped by transformative technologies, global trends, future opportunities, and the changing needs of our customers and our people. This year TMR released the Draft Queensland Transport Strategy, our 30-year vision that details how we plan to harness emerging transport trends to continue to move people and products safely and efficiently into the future.

Our exploration of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) continues, with a focus on how a move away from personally owned transport modes will impact the transport network of tomorrow. Public transport will play an increasing part in this. Cross River Rail is just one way we’re looking to enable higher frequency, higher capacity rail services in Brisbane. Our Smart Ticketing project has progressed well, with elements of the system being prepared for trial in regional locations. By actively pursuing these future-focused opportunities, we are positioning TMR as an agent of change and not a victim of it.

The bigger picture

TMR is meeting the Queensland Government Objectives for the community in important ways, including:

  • advancing economic prosperity across our cities and regions to create jobs in a strong economy
  • keeping Queenslanders healthy by developing and maintaining an accessible network connecting communities
  • protecting the Great Barrier Reef through our commitment to climate change and innovative sustainability initiatives
  • being a responsive government by delivering customer-centric solutions and embracing critical and creative thinking to deliver on our priorities now and in the future.

The people of TMR

I must finish by acknowledging the people who make this all work, the people of TMR. This year we’re celebrating 10 years since Queensland Transport and the Department of Main Roads joined to become the Department of Transport and Main Roads. Our people are our greatest asset and it’s the hard work, skills and dedication of our significant workforce that keeps the transport network running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Whether it’s on our roads, rail or waterways, our dedicated team is committed to delivering for the community.

This becomes evident with the significant accomplishments of our people acknowledged at various award ceremonies over the past 12 months. Some of these include the Women in Technology Awards, Premier’s Awards for Excellence, Marketing Excellence Awards, Queensland Seafood Association Awards and PRIA Golden Target Awards. I was also privileged to be named Transport and Logistics Executive of the Year at the CEO Magazine’s 2018 Executive of the Year Awards.

We are nothing without our people and it is extremely important to me to provide a culture and environment where everyone feels safe at work and returns home safely. I continue to champion the issue of Domestic and Family Violence Awareness (DFVA) and have driven the agenda since 2015, supported by my Executive Leadership Team including the Chief Operations Officer who is Champion for Women in Leadership.

Director-General Neil Scales addressing office and roads staff at an awards event

Director-General Neil Scales addressing office and roads staff at an awards event

We are also committed to building a mentally healthy workplace, this year releasing TMR’s Mental Health Strategy. The strategy outlines practices to encourage positive mental health, supported by awareness training sessions for managers delivered as part of the roll out. We were also the first department to implement the My health for life program—a free health initiative, funded by the Queensland Government, that aims to helps Queenslanders reduce their risk of developing chronic disease.

Looking ahead, we will work collaboratively with our stakeholders and delivery partners to ensure Queenslanders remain connected and continue our work towards creating a single integrated transport network accessible to everyone.

Neil Scales OBE 
Department of Transport and Main Roads

ONC (Eng), HNC (EEng), DMS, BSc (Eng), MSc (Control Engineering and Computer Systems), MBA, CEng (UK), RPEQ, FIET, FIMechE, FICE, FIEAust, FCILT, FLJMU, FRSA, FSOE, FIRTE, VFF, MAICD