Council isn’t budging on bridge credit after residents hit ‘brick walls’


By Matt Dennien
Updated

Brisbane City Council has no plans to change eligibility requirements for its Go Between Bridge toll credit scheme despite fewer than 1000 residents being granted the subsidy and others hitting unexpected impasses while trying.

Most of the 9000 vehicles that had used the nearby Victoria Bridge daily have re-routed to the William Jolly Bridge, with patronage on the Go Between remaining about 10,500 trips a day and sparking calls from the RACQ for better incentives and discounts for the “under-utilised asset”.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey has weighed in, calling for a loosening of the criteria to more renters and private vehicle owners.

The scheme was rolled out alongside the closure of nearby Victoria Bridge to general traffic in late January as part of the $1.2 billion Brisbane Metro project, to help residents south of the CBD with the potential increased cost of crossing the river.

Those in the 4101 postcode suburbs of Highgate Hill, South Brisbane and West End could be granted the $100 annual credit, which would be added to their Linkt account and reviewed each year for a maximum of four years. The council then pays this subsidy to administrator Transurban.

While 2016 census data showed about two-thirds of the 23,000 people who lived in the area rented, well above the Queensland and national averages of closer to 30 per cent, those applying for the scheme must have six months remaining on a tenancy to be eligible.

Others have discovered utes and vans were ineligible for the credit even if only used for personal travel.

One resident, Lucy Gabb, had applied for the scheme only to hit “brick walls” and be told in emails seen by Brisbane Times that her single-cab ute, along with dual-cab varieties and vans, were not included.

“It’s not that much of a big deal but it was just frustrating because I had to do all the legwork to find out,” she said. “If they had said straight away you weren’t eligible, I wouldn’t have applied.”

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China not budging, infra build-up on along LAC | India News


India has matched China’s buildup by moving more troops to Ladakh (File photo)

NEW DELHI: China is showing no intent of disengaging from the troop confrontation in eastern Ladakh, while further digging in its heels by continuing to build roads, bridges, helipads and other military infrastructure along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) to back its troops at the actual face-off sites.
“China is indulging in ping-pong tactics by shuttling the ball between diplomatic and military talks, without any serious attempt at conflict resolution. There is no change in the ground situation,” said a senior military official on Saturday. India, of course, has counter-deployed to match the build-up of troops, artillery, tanks and other heavy weaponry by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in all the three sectors of the 3,488-km long LAC stretching from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh.
The strategy being finalised for any contingency as well as the long haul in the already well over 100-day military confrontation in eastern Ladakh was discussed in a flurry of top-level meetings over the last three days here. Defence minister Rajnath Singh chaired a two-hour meeting with national security adviser Ajit Doval, chief of defence staff General Bipin and the three Service chiefs – General M M Naravane, Admiral Karambir Singh and Air Chief Marshal R K S Bhadauria – on Saturday.
The defence minister meeting was preceded by General Naravane summoning an unscheduled meeting of his top seven Army commanders from across the country on Thursday and Friday to review the “security situation and operational preparedness on both the northern and western fronts” with China and Pakistan. “There is always the possibility of a collusive threat from them,” said another officer.
“China seems hell-bent on its strategy to push the LAC westwards in Ladakh. It’s carrying out military infrastructure development at an exponential pace since its troops intruded into Indian territory at multiple points in the high-altitude region in early-May,” he said.
From building roads in several sectors close to the LAC and augmenting the capacity of its airbases at Hotan and Kashgar in Xinjiang as well as Gargunsa, Lhasa-Gonggar and Shigatse in Tibet to laying optical fibre cables for its troops at the faceoff sites in Pangong Tso and Gogra-Hot Springs areas, China is doing it all, said officers.
Several rounds of diplomatic and military talks have so far failed to break the deadlock in the stalled troop disengagement in Pangong Tso and Gogra as well as de-escalation in the rival military build-ups in the strategically-located Depsang Plains-Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) sector, as was reported by TOIearlier. With India underlining that the LAC is “non-negotiable”, the Army and IAF are preparing for the coming long-drawn winter.



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