Commuters face a smoother ride with motorway upgrades from the city to the coast

Premier Campbell Newman

Premier Campbell Newman

Premier of Queensland

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Driving between Brisbane and the Gold Coast is about to get easier, with motorway upgrades in place to add an extra lane on the Pacific Motorway between Klumpp Road and the Gateway Motorway merge. A five-kilometre stretch of the motorway will soon expand from three lanes to four lanes, when the transit lanes in both directions are removed. Even though the motorway’s T2 lanes were installed more than a decade ago, they haven’t boosted carpooling and have only added to congestion.

Most of the roadworks will take place at night but anyone using this motorway should be aware there will be some changes to traffic while work is underway and take extra care while driving. The full works should be finished by the middle of the year and the plans are available online at For the latest updates on roadworks and closures across the state see

Great Start for new home buyers
More than 800 Queensland home buyers have got off to a Great Start with the government’s new home buyers grant program. Between October 2012 and March this year 805 home buyers have used the Great Start Grant to help build or buy a new house or apartment.

The grant was brought in as part of the 2012-13 state budget to help more people get into the property market, to stimulate the construction industry and help alleviate the housing shortage in regional communities. It’s already working, with several industry reports, studies and surveys indicating confidence in the Queensland property market is on the rebound. Call 1300 300 734 for information.

Calling for creative youth
It’s time for young Queenslanders to get creative for a chance to win prizes in an online competition during this year’s National Youth Week celebrations. The competition asks young people to submit a creative piece of work, including images, video clips or artwork, which incorporates the 2013 Youth Week theme, Be Active, Be Happy, Be You.

The Facebook competition is open to people aged 13 to 25 and is all about capturing their thoughts and views in a creative way and I’m really hoping to see many creative entries celebrating this year’s theme. Entries can be lodged until 5pm Friday 17 May this year. Three winners will each receive a $50 iTunes voucher, every week for six weeks.

Answer the Salvos’ doorknock
Volunteers will be out in force in May doorknocking Queensland homes to collect much-needed donations for the Salvation Army. I was honoured to attend the recent launch of the Salvos 2013 Red Shield Appeal where I presented a $60,000 donation from the Queensland government to kick start the appeal. The Salvos do a great job right across Queensland helping people in need, providing vital programs such as crisis accommodation, family support services, employment services, chaplaincy, aged care and counselling across the state. Most recently, they’ve been working hard in flood and storm affected communities to help people get back on their feet.

The Salvos rely on generous donations from Queenslanders to help them continue their outstanding work. Call 13 72 58.