Minister puts end to rail bungle

THERE'S no denying Ipswich has copped a raw deal with Queensland Rail's track closures over the past few years - but there was something of a breakthrough yesterday.

Ipswich-born Transport Minister Scott Emerson announced an agreement with the transport authority to publish a long-term plan for maintenance-related track closures, allowing event organisers and attendees to better prepare for the inconvenience.

The minister's announcement came in the wake of news that the Ipswich line would be closed on the weekend of August 4 and 5 - clashing with this year's Ipswich 300 race in the V8 Supercars series.

In recent years the Ipswich Show and Ipswich Cup have also been affected by track maintenance work.

Mr Emerson said Queensland Rail would now consult with event organisers to ensure they could plan events around track closures.

"I want a passenger-friendly and community-focused approach that was sadly lacking under former Transport Minister and current Leader of the Opposition Annastacia Palaszczuk," he said.

In a move which has gained the praise of Mayor Paul Pisasale, Mr Emerson called for the closure of the Ipswich line in August to be rescheduled so that it does not clash with the V8s.

Queensland Rail confirmed late yesterday that the line would remain open for the event, which is expected to attract more than 50,000 people over three days.

"It is good to have someone with common sense, who is prepared to listen," Cr Pisasale said.

V8 Supercars spokesman Cole Hitchcock was also full of praise for the minister.

Topics:  ipswich 300, paul pisasale, queensland rail, scott emerson



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