Member for Ipswich Rachel Nolan has swapped the Transport portfolio for Finance and the Arts.
Member for Ipswich Rachel Nolan has swapped the Transport portfolio for Finance and the Arts.

Rail lobby gives MP transport pass

A COMMUTER lobby group says Ipswich MP Rachel Nolan’s tenure as transport minister had upsides and downsides after she was taken off the portfolio on Sunday.

Premier Bligh announced the rejig on the back of a weekend poll which showed a massive rebound in her popularity, rising from 35 to 58% as the preferred premier.

The cabinet reshuffle has been seen as a clearing of the decks by the Premier to maintain her resurgent popularity ahead of an election early next year.

Robert Dow, a spokesman for commuter lobby group Rail Back on Track, said there were upsides and downsides to Nolan’s time in the Transport role.

Mr Dow said highlights included the improvement of infrastructure, including the upcoming Springfield train line and duplication works in Brisbane which created scope for better timetables.

“There have been improvements to infrastructure, but we feel a better fee structure could have been introduced for the Go Card,” Mr Dow said.

He said Ms Nolan had always listened to suggestions his group made.

Ms Nolan said her move from Transport Minister to the portfolios of Finance and Arts is a promotion within Premier Anna Bligh’s cabinet.

She said she was excited about her new roles, including the newly-created Finance portfolio, which would take in half the work currently done by Treasury.

“What the Government has done is split Treasury, because the Treasurer has taken on State Development as well,” she said.

“I will be responsible for financial regulation, for cutting red tape, for all of the government-owned corporations and for assisting the Treasurer in planning the budget.”

Ms Nolan said highlights in her previous role included rail projects to Redcliffe and Springfield, more public transport seats and the privatisation of Queensland Rail.

It was the privatisation of Queensland Rail which attracted her the most criticism and the scrapping of some Ipswich bus services. On the Sunday her removal from the Transport portfolio was announced a power fault at East Ipswich station caused trains between Dinmore and Walloon to be suspended and replaced by buses between 8.30am and 3.45pm.

Ms Nolan said she was also looking forward to the Arts portfolio, and would be a strong advocate for regional arts.



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