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Director-General's Message

DG Neil Scales

The transport sector is going through a period of unprecedented change and turbulence. Driven by the explosion in data availability and the rapid pace of technological development, it is an exciting time to be involved in the transport industry. It is critical that we continue to embrace emerging trends and transformative technologies so we can improve customer outcomes and deliver a transport network that efficiently connects Queensland, now and into the future.

For this reason, innovation has been a core element of the past year’s strategic priorities and achievements. Our ability to harness technological opportunities, adapt to change and deliver our projects are key to achieving our department’s vision of creating a single integrated transport network accessible to everyone. I’m pleased with how we are working together to face these challenges, evidenced through the many successful outcomes and initiatives we profile in this report.

Perhaps our biggest win was our work to successfully deliver the transport network to support the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games (GC2018). As the largest multi-sport event this country has seen in more than a decade, running over 12 days in multiple cities, our challenge was to provide a transport network that could safely and reliably move millions of GC2018 spectators during peak travel times — while still continuing to service the general public.

The Games were a spectacular success. Our delivery included almost $1 billion of infrastructure and technological support, creating capacity for over 7 million trips taken across the Games period. Read more on GC2018.

Creating a single integrated transport network accessible to everyone

We’ve made significant strides this year in realising our vision, influenced by how our network could look for future generations. At the forefront is TransLink, progressing Next Generation Ticketing solutions—the platform for future functionalities including realtime seat availability, personalised disruption notification and payment function for Mobility as a Service (MaaS.)

The progression of our MaaS initiative is similarly progressing at a spectacular pace. This year we have established a team to develop a roadmap of key actions for us to lead the advancement of MaaS for Queensland in coming years. These actions include extensive customer research to better understand their needs, the ongoing creation of the customer value proposition and the investigation of options in regional and remote areas.

We’ve similarly worked hard with our Queensland Government colleagues to progress our state’s largest upcoming infrastructure project Cross River Rail. The $5.4 billion project will transform Brisbane’s transport network. ‘Business as usual’ activities included a $4.59 billion total investment in transport infrastructure and $957 million on maintenance and operation of the state transport network. This includes completing the fifth year of a 10 year improvement program for the Bruce Highway, and completing key stages of the Warrego Highway Upgrade between Toowoomba and west of Miles. Incorporating active transport options into our network is also a priority, including planning and delivery of a connected cycling network and a Queensland Walking Strategy, to contribute to improving the quality of life for Queenslanders.

It was also a busy year for our rail teams. Their achievements include the commitment of funds for the Beerburrum to Nambour Rail upgrade project, assisting our stakeholders with their progression of several key projects including Inland Rail and Gold Coast Light Rail Stage 3A and delivery of the first New Generation Rollingstock passenger services. With such a large and diverse transport network that will continue to meet the growing demands of the state, planning plays a critical role in shaping a prosperous future. This year, we released several key plans and commenced others that will guide how our department addresses customer experience, community connectivity, security and other significant issues and how we will respond to challenges. This includes the continued development of our Regional Transport Plans, which are a great example of TMR working closely with key stakeholders to define and address regional issues, ensuring an efficient and responsive state-wide transport system over the next 15 years. Another critical focus for us has been ensuring our transport system is accessible to everyone. The Integrated Accessible Transport Network initiative was established in April 2018 and is a 3 year program dedicated to ensuring TMR’s products and services are integrated, inclusive and accessible to all.

Putting customers first

At the very centre of everything we do is our customers—the people of Queensland. An important part of our customer first ethos has been the development of a TMR Customer Charter launched in October 2017. The charter details our commitments to customers and defines the level of service they can expect and deserve. TMR’s public websites facilitate almost 8 million online transactions for Queenslanders every year, further demonstrating our commitment to putting customers first by enabling them to do business when and where they prefer through digital channels. I’m pleased to say our hard work has not gone unnoticed!

Congratulations to our customer experience team winning a Service Champion Award (Runner Up) in the 2017 Australian Service Excellence Awards for our Customer First Program.

A focus on safety and leadership excellence 

This financial year, TMR developed its Capability Blueprint, a self-assessment that considered our organisational capabilities, with all staff asked to complete a survey. The blueprint process is intended to start conversations about our capability now and into the future. The results are in and TMR is leading in 7 of the 10 key aspects of leadership, strategy and delivery. I feel strongly about our commitment to safety and wellbeing by driving improvements in safety leadership, communication and consultation, risk management and health and wellbeing. In 2017, TMR launched its Safety and Wellbeing Improvement Plan 2017–19, increasing awareness of workplace wellbeing. All employees are empowered to make positive changes to their workplace, habits and the safety culture of the department. 

Delivering the plan underpins our commitment to the TMR Work Health and Safety Policy and Queensland Public Service Values. My commitment to safety extends to our national network. I contribute my time as Commissioner for the National Transport Commission, and am Chair of Austroads, the Queensland Transport and Logistics Council and the Australian Centre for Rail Safety and Innovation, with the single focus of driving a national agenda to make our transport systems safer for everyone, particularly our most vulnerable road users.

This year I was pleased to see TMR embrace technology to develop our marine safety messaging, using social media platforms to deliver information and educate our customers as part of ongoing awareness campaigns. 

Community at heart 

I continue in my role as Government Champion for the Woorabinda Indigenous community, and this year we have proactively assisted with disaster recovery, community transportation and furthering self-determination via building community capacity through various projects. TMR has also supported me in my third consecutive year to champion the cause of domestic and family violence prevention within the department by taking part in the annual Australian CEO Challenge Race—where the business sector raises awareness and funds to help break the silence surrounding domestic violence.

As part of this initiative, TMR employees and our community partners hosted various awareness and fundraising events. Our collective effort raised more than $37,500 for the organisation and I was honoured to be named the 2017 CEO Race winner. This effort was followed up in June 2017, when I championed a Salvation Army food drive amongst our staff which resulted in a substantial donation of food, clothes and vouchers to their inner-city homeless kitchen, ready for their Christmas in July initiative. 

Looking to the future

In addressing personalised transport reforms, we are making significant progress with demand responsive trials, Next Generation Ticketing and the development of Mobility as a Service. We are further embracing transformative transport technologies, including autonomous vehicles, and through the Cooperative and Automated Vehicle Initiative, we are on track to conduct Australia’s largest on-road testing trial of cooperative vehicles and infrastructure in 2019. We continue to invest heavily in research which has improved the efficiencies and performance of focus areas including pavements, asset management, structures, network operations, road safety and heavy vehicle management. These efforts have paid off and in November 2017 we won the Premier’s Award for fostering a culture of sustainability and environmental awareness. Finally, in January 2018, in conjunction with other agencies and a private supplier, TMR completed the initial phase of the Queensland Electric Super Highway, just over 6 months from when it was announced in June 2017. The super highway is a series of 17 electric vehicle fast chargers located from Coolangatta to Cairns and west from Brisbane to Toowoomba making it the world’s longest electric super highway in a single state. It is undoubtedly an exciting time to be in transport—and for TMR in particular—as we continue to play a vital role in shaping ‘Queensland of the future’ while making valuable contributions to the state’s economy and the day-to-day lives of Queenslanders. I sincerely thank all our people for their dedication, hard work and contribution to TMR’s success over the past year.

I look forward to tackling the challenges of the coming year with a committed and talented team.

Neil Scales OBE

Director-General

Department of Transport and Main Roads

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

Read more in our annual report