Queensland's Heritage Railways Need Your Help for Government Funding!

Queensland's Heritage Railways Need Your Help for Government Funding!

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Robert Shearer started this petition to Annastacia Palaszczuk (Premier of Queensland) and

That Volunteer Heritage Railways are in a "Bermuda triangle" when it comes to government funding with neither Tourism, Transport or Heritage funding being available to the sector.

Under a loop hole in the Heritage Act 1993, rail vehicles are classed as moveable heritage and are not eligible for conservation, nor is the sector eligible for transport funding because it is not a Primary Service.

As these groups have no paid employees the groups have lost a years worth of funding and have no possible recourse to apply for support.

It has fallen back to the groups to completely self fund major projects such as boiler maintenance, conservation sheds etc.

Due to this, comparative to other Australian states and international operators, Queensland's heritage railways are far less developed and nearly 20 years behind in terms of capacity and sustainability.

The sector is now one of the most heavily regulated next to mining and as such comes with significant costs to maintain operations, these have to be met by the volunteers in order to sustain operations.

This petition seeks for the formation of an annual grant of pool $1.2m pa (which is about on par with a recent grant/gift to a single local Racecourse to cover operating expenses) created to assist volunteer run heritage rail operations to continue to grow in this state.

This pool would allow every rail heritage group to apply for one of the following each year:

-2x large grants at $150 000 (max. - Can not be consecutively awarded to one group)
-14 small grants at $50 000 (max.)

$175 000 would be set aside from the $1.2m annually for Government administrative costs.

The scope of the funding would be to promote projects that either:

- seek to maintain operational condition of or bring to operation (through restoration) heritage rollingstock,

- conserve (by way of shedding) rollingstock that has been restored or is awaiting restoration to further slow down decay

- undertake restoration/conservation works of heritage infrastructure (such as stations, signal cabins and cream sheds etc.)

Many of these projects have been required for the continued sustainably of heritage railway organisations but were previously unthinkable due to the lack of accessible funding.

This grant will also provides jobs in multiple small communities and become economic drivers for 15 regions for small businesses..

 

A few Facts and Figures about Railway Heritage;

1. Most Heritage Railways  in the state see 10 000 -15 000 Passengers annually. Given the operation is 52 days out of 365 is indicative of most groups in order to conserve there equipment and resources that's full trains all the time.

2. It costs just as much to operate for a single passenger as 150 passengers so an irregular but very full service is always preferable to always on.

3. These groups are spread across the state from Atherton and Port Douglas in the north to Warwick in the south and with the exception of the Mary Valley Rattler (which has a number of paid employees) are members of the ATHRA peakbody (Association of Tourist and Heritage Railways Australia.

4. Most railways have just shy of 200 volunteers including maintainers, station staff, track workers, drivers, firemen, gardeners, electricians and safety management teams. 

5. All the groups face similar needs; a need for coverage of restored rollingstock to maintain them against the elements and add greater security, a need for funding for major restorations (Locomotives - $300, 000 - using volunteer labour) Carriages ($10 000 - $50 000 - using volunteer labour) rail related buildings ($20 000- $400 000 depending on labour and building size)

6. In Queensland, the T&H sector devotes the equivalent of 30 effective skilled full time positions and over $1,000,000 annually to the maintenance of State owned assets.

7. The sector contributes $371 million annually to the Australian economy and directly and indirectly generates 3,182 jobs. 

8. In Queensland, the sector contributes $37.1 million annually to the state economy and directly and indirectly generates 318 jobs, many in regional areas.

9. Planned developments in the T&H sector within a decade in Queensland will see, by 2023, this contribution increasing to over $74 million annually and directly and indirectly generating 636 jobs, many in regional areas.

10. Heritage railways offer a great way for communities to connect to fulfil a common goal with a real social impact. Most railways have an active team of 50-100 volunteers who keep the trains running.

0 have signed. Let’s get to 1,500!
At 1,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!