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Objective 3Environment and Heritage

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This section showcases some of the lesser known work the department does to protect our environmental and historical assets. When improving the safety and accessibility of our systems we always strive to preserve the integrity of our heritage listed assets, as well as ensuring our unique local flora and fauna can continue to thrive.

Fraser Island oil spill clean-up

In October 2016, we led a successful multi-agency response to remove oil patties that had washed ashore along a stretch of Fraser Island's east coast around the Eurong to Maheno Wreck area.

Working with the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing, Queensland Police Service as well as the Fraser Coast Regional Council and traditional owners, shoreline clean-up activities were effectively completed in late October 2016.

Due to the weathered nature of the oil and the large number of potential ships transiting offshore from this coastline, investigations were unable to identify a culpable party.

Government staff who assisted with the painstaking Fraser Island oil spill clean-up task

Government staff who assisted with the painstaking Fraser Island oil spill clean-up task

Protecting cassowaries

The department has continued to work with the community to improve the safety of the iconic far north Queensland cassowaries. A year-long trial of Vehicle Activated Signs (VAS) commenced in August 2016 on a section of Tully-Mission Beach Road identified by the community as a cassowary vehicle strike 'hot spot'. The VAS light up when a motorist is travelling over the 80km/h speed limit to encourage drivers to slow down and be aware of cassowaries. If successful, VAS could be used more broadly across the state-controlled road network. Vehicle speeds will be monitored before and after installation of the VAS to provide information on the effect on drivers' behaviour through vehicle speeds.

In April 2017, the department reviewed the speed limits on the state-controlled roads around Mission Beach. While the speed review findings do not support changes to speed limits on the basis of engineering factors, the department will investigate the implementation of a Cassowary Conservation Zone for deployment on targeted roads around Mission Beach.

Koala scat detection dogs

Looking after our wildlife has always been a priority for the department and state government – collaborating with agencies to ensure the best outcome for projects and local wildlife.

A common approach to koala protection is to replace earmarked project land with new land helping to sustain wildlife corridors by effectively replacing what's taken away in a like-for-like arrangement. This is known as a 'designated land offset' and could include revegetating cleared land, protecting vegetated land or ensuring areas remain connected by planting trees in corridors.

Baxter, a professionally trained canine on site at the Bruce Highway – Cooroy to Curra project, looking for koalas

Baxter, a professionally trained canine on site at the Bruce Highway – Cooroy to Curra project, looking for koalas

TMR has commissioned the services of scientists from numerous universities to aid the conservation effort of koalas through research projects. TMR recently partnered with the University of the Sunshine Coast to implement a five year research program involving innovative treatments, such as the use of TMR funded koala scat (dropping) detection dogs.

These professionally trained canines are part of a research team funded by the Cooroy to Curra (Section C) project near Gympie to better understand which types of 'designated land offsets' (revegetated land and connected land parcels) will provide the best outcomes for wildlife.

Another project where we have implemented effective koala protection initiatives is for the recently completed Moreton Bay Rail Link (MBRL). The project team went above and beyond to understand koala population biology and movement through their tagging and monitoring program. This was a comprehensive research and tracking program led by a team of koala scientists to capture and radio collar koalas living in and around the rail corridor, in addition to using spotter catchers. These efforts were recognised at the 2016 Premier's Awards for Excellence, receiving Highly Commended in the Sustainability Category.

Restoration on heritage listed Lockyer Creek Bridge

The heritage listed bridge was constructed as one of the major engineering projects on the Brisbane Valley Branch Line between Lowood and Esk, opening for rail traffic in 1886. The bridge was strengthened in both 1932 and 1960 but it is largely unchanged from its original design. It has been closed to rail traffic since 1993.

The bridge is planned to exist as a non-functional heritage feature in the recreational Brisbane Valley Rail Trail, with access to the deck restricted. On this basis, the remaining lifespan of the bridge is associated with continuing to ensure the stability of the overall structure and ensuring the safety of the general public using the Rail Trail, which sweeps below the bridge through Lockyer Creek.

In February 2017, the department conducted a detailed structural condition inspection and prepared a cost estimate for the total restoration of the bridge.

The detailed condition report was submitted in March 2017, and it was determined that the project to rehabilitate the structure will be delivered in a number of stages.

Lockyer Creek bridge will no longer serve as a rail bridge but be part of a Brisbane Valley Rail Trail

Lockyer Creek bridge will no longer serve as a rail bridge but be part of a Brisbane Valley Rail Trail

The initial stage of the project comprises of the restoration of the majority of the timber components of the bridge.

The next stages of the project include blasting and painting of the centre lattice steel truss span and are programmed to be completed by the end of the 2017–18.

This bridge is a significant spot on the path of the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail and is significant to the local community due to its heritage value and the potential tourism opportunities of the disused rail trail.

Rehabilitation for Burnett Traffic Bridge, Bundaberg

In Bundaberg, a significant program of rehabilitation works is underway on the Queensland heritage listed Burnett Traffic Bridge. The bridge, often referred to as 'The Old Traffic Bridge' opened on 24 August 1900. At the time it was the fifth longest metal truss bridge in Australia.

In the early 1990s, the structure was added to the Queensland Heritage Register and the battleship gray colour was repainted using heritage colours Indian Red, Brunswick Green and Kansas Corn.

The steel girder bridge has eight spans and is 416 metres in length between abutments. It was officially opened by the Queensland Governor Baron Lamington on 24 August 1900

The steel girder bridge has eight spans and is 416 metres in length between abutments. It was officially opened by the Queensland Governor Baron Lamington on 24 August 1900

The renovation program involves structural repairs, blasting works to remove old paint and rust and applying a new paint protection system. Works will ensure the bridge remains trafficable to the 16,800 motorists who use the bridge every day, with an average of 7.5 per cent being heavy vehicle operators.

Due to the age and size of the structure, the rehabilitation program is significant and is expected to continue for several years. It will be a long process however we are committed to preserving an important part of Bundaberg's history to ensure it continues to serve as a vital road link.

The current maintenance and rehabilitation works will ensure the bridge can keep up with demand, as an average of 16,800 motorists use the bridge every day.

Waste Management Plan

We aim to minimise waste generated across all sections of the department. Day-to-day operations can generate a number of waste products including construction and demolition materials, vegetative materials and office consumables. Management of these activities will assist us in achieving minimal waste.

We are aware of the importance of resources and we employ procedures that include:

The following table outlines TMR's achieved requirements of the Waste Management Plan.

Table– Requirements achieved
Phase Requirements Status Comments
1 Publication of department's plan on website Complete

The Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) Waste Reduction and Recycling Plan 2016–2021 ('Waste Plan 2016–2021') has been endorsed by TMR Director-General and is published on TMR's website at the following link:

www.tmr.qld.gov.au/Community-and-environment/Environmental-management/Land/Waste-management
2 Review the plan at three year intervals Complete The Waste Plan 2016–2021 states the plan will be in effect for three years, with a review period in the subsequent fourth year.
3 Commencing from mid-2016, report within two months after the end of the financial year to EHP concerning the status of the plan Complete This report forms the reporting against the plan required to be supplied to the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP). Currently TMR is collecting data to establish a baseline of waste generated as per Phase 1. This is a critical step as the measurement of an accurate baseline will provide a reference for the success of future waste initiatives.
4 From 2016, EHP reports annually on the number of departments that have a plan in place Complete TMR has a Waste Reduction and Recycling Plan in place.

Case study

Resource Efficiency Strategy

RoadTek is a major provider of transport infrastructure solutions throughout Queensland. RoadTek Branch has been contributing to waste and recycling within TMR since the 2010–11 financial year.

This year, RoadTek released the Resource Efficiency Strategy and Action Plan 2017–2022 which includes the following targets:

  • Energy
    • Reduce electricity and fuel use by 3 per cent annually (kWh)
    • Reduce CO2 emissions by 3 per cent annually (tonnes/CO2-e)
    • Source 25 per cent of energy from renewable sources (kWh/Litres).
  • Waste
    • Reduce general waste disposal to landfill by 5 per cent per annum (tonnes)
    • Reduce Queensland Priority Waste disposal to landfill by 5 per cent per annum (tonnes)
    • Increase Recycling rate of Construction and Demolition Waste by 4.5 per cent per annum (tonnes).
  • Water
    • Reduce potable water use by 2.5 per cent per annum (kL).
  • 2030+
    • Source 50 per cent of energy from renewable resources (kWh/Litres)
    • Reduce CO2 emissions by 26-28 per cent to 30-50 per cent on 2005 levels (tonnes/CO2-e)
    • Zero net CO2-e emissions (2050).

In addition, installation of a 15kW Solar PV system at Winton Depot and an additional 12kW Solar PV to Gold Coast Depot led to annual savings of more than $5000 whilst generating 25,000kWh of renewable energy and reducing our CO2-e emissions by 18 tonnes. This brings RoadTek total Solar PV systems to 204kW, generating 254,000kWh of renewable electricity, and reducing CO2-e by 178 tonnes each year.

Installation of potable water treatment systems at Midgee Depot and Bridgewater Depot increased use of non-potable sources. Located on site, and reduced transport delivery costs and fuel emissions. A partnership with the Endeavour Foundation led to the recycling of 59t of waste as part of the TMR Obsolete Lantern Replacement Program. The 8,500 lanterns replaced generated 14.8t of plastic, 20t of metals, and 24t of other recyclable materials.

This project contributes to the state construction and demolition waste target in the Queensland Waste Avoidance and Resource Productivity Strategy (2014–2024).

We reused or recycled more than 78 per cent of waste
generated in 2016–17.
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