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Lord Mayor scraps "Rolls Royce" ferry terminal designs

19 February, 2013

Lord Mayor scraps “Rolls Royce” ferry terminal designs

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk has scrapped the Bligh Government’s international ferry terminal competition in favour of a more practical design with a higher flood resilience after discovering the winning pitch would leave ratepayers up to $20 million out of pocket.

The Lord Mayor today revealed the true cost of the Bligh proposal to replace seven flood-damaged ferry terminals with “iconic designs” would be upwards of $90 million.

This was despite Ms Bligh claiming she had “every confidence” her decision to halt Council’s reconstruction of the city’s ferry terminals to procure a new design through an international competition would not exceed the State and Federal Government’s original $70 million allocation to the project through National Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA).

Cr Quirk said that with no guarantee of extra funding to cover the higher cost, he could not commit ratepayers to a $20 million black hole and would scale back the “Rolls Royce” look of the former Bligh State Labor Government’s proposal.

The Lord Mayor also announced today he had written to Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Premier Campbell Newman and both had given their approval for the “iconic” designs to be scrapped.

“We fought hard to secure the $70 million from the State and Federal Governments so that ratepayers didn’t have to foot the bill for the repair of this critical infrastructure,” Cr Quirk said.

“Unfortunately the Bligh Government’s decision to change the design was going to leave ratepayers out of pocket by up to $20 million and I’m not going to put that unnecessary burden on this city.

“Council’s current ferry terminals are already icons of our river city so it doesn’t make sense to try and reinvent the wheel when we’re already going to be over $100 million out of pocket by the time the flood recovery is complete.

“In this current economic climate flood resilience must be our number one priority, not ‘nice to haves’.”

Cr Quirk said Council’s new design would have a flood resilience of one in 500 years, compared to one in 100 years for the Bligh Government’s chosen design.

He said this would be achieved by reinforcing the terminal’s structure, as well as incorporating flood-protection measures suggested in the “iconic” design such retractable gangways, a deflector pier and a triangular pontoon designed to allow debris to bump off the terminal rather than smashing into it head on.

Cr Quirk said the key change to the Bligh Government’s chosen design was the replacement of an extravagant on-water dual waiting area and boarding pontoon with upgrades to the existing waiting areas.

“Brisbane’s ferry network is crucial to tackling traffic congestion in this city and we need to ensure it has the best chance of withstanding any future flood events with minimal damage, which is why we’re upgrading these terminals to a higher flood standard,” Cr Quirk said. (continued over page…)

“That fact we’ve been able to keep key elements of the winning design that will help with flood protection without impacting prices shows the extra cost was always in these unnecessary extravagances.”

Cr Quirk said the Prime Minister and Premier had also extended Council’s time to complete the upgrade from 2014 to 2015 to accommodate the time lost as a result of the international design competition and subsequent changes.

The seven ferry terminals to receive upgrades to a higher flood standard include five CityCat terminals at University of Queensland (St Lucia), Regatta (Toowong), North Quay (CBD), QUT (CBD), Sydney Street (New Farm) and two CityFerry terminals at Holman Street (Kangaroo Point) and Maritime Museum (South Brisbane).

Council has restarted the detailed design process, with construction tenders expected to be awarded 2014 and work on the first of the seven ferry terminals expected to start in the first half of 2015.

“Along with staggering the construction start dates we also plan on prefabricating most of the parts required offsite to minimise the amount of time each terminal will be closed and any subsequent disruption to commuters,” Cr Quirk said.


In January 2011 Brisbane City Council began repairing a total of 23 ferry terminals damaged by the devastating flood that hit the city.

This included building “temporary” terminals at the seven locations listed above, which were washed away during the floods, as an interim measure until they could be replaced with more flood-resilient designs at a later date.

That same month Brisbane City Council successfully campaigned the State and Federal Governments to fund $70 million worth of repairs to the city’s ferry terminals after being initially rejected.

However, in April 2011, then-Labor Premier Anna Bligh and then-Acting Prime Minister Wayne Swann announced they would halt Council’s ferry terminal replacement process to hold an international design competition for a more “iconic” design.

This was announced without prior consultation with Council and without any promise of extra funding for the reconstruction.

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