Public transport changes for Gold Coast

A bunch of changes to Gold Coast public transport are being rolled out from today.

More than 200 extra daily train services are being added across South-east Queensland, following an overhaul of the train timetable.

There’ll be more trains available during the peak times on the Gold Coast in a bid to ease conditions on the so-called ‘Bombay Express’.

However, many bus passengers have been fearing the introduction of a ‘simplified’ network west of the M1.

There’ll be more bus services between the heavy rail and light rail (which won’t be up and running until mid-year).

The Translink website claims the changes will see simplified bus services along the Gold Coast Highway and improved services to the new Health and Knowledge Precinct (Griffith University and the Gold Coast University Hospital).

It also trumpets an additional service connecting Nerang and the Gold Coast University Hospital, improved frequency on services that connect Robina, Bond University and Broadbeach and improved service coverage in Coomera.

But Gaven MP Dr Alex Douglas has hit back at the claims.

He believes the elderly, disabled and students will be hardest hit with services cut to Yarrimbah Drive and Dugandan Street, with no buses on the weekend.

“A bus stop outside YMCA Housing in Railway Av has been removed, leaving 118 tenants, many elderly and disabled, without a close service,” Dr Douglas said.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said the new timetables were simpler and easier to use, and were are result of a long review and public feedback.

“Hardly anyone was using those bus services. I’ve seen cases where there’s a handful of people using maybe 80 bus services in a week,” Mr Emerson said.

“We can’t afford to do that where other people are crying out for additional services, where the demand is very strong.”

For train timetable details visit the translink website.

Margot Robbie flies in for Wolf premiere

She wore pyjamas on the flight from LA to Brisbane and is taking her mum to the local premiere of her new movie, but there’s no mistaking – Margot Robbie’s star is on the rise in Hollywood.

The Gold Coast actress flew in yesterday and managed to change out of her PJs for a glamorous trot through Brisbane International Airport.

The Courier Mail reports, the former Neighbours starlet was dressed in a silky black maxi dress with thigh-high slit and carrying a light grey tote bag.

Robbie’s in town for tonight’s premiere of The Wolf of Wall Street, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and directed by Martin Scorsese.

She said she was thrilled to be able to take her mum to the premiere of her latest film.

“I’m excited for it to come out here,” she said. “It’s been busy, I’ve been very fortunate – it was a brilliant opportunity. I still can’t quite believe it.”

The 23-year-old admitted her first priority was a simple dip in the backyard pool and said it was “wonderful” to be home.

“I’ve got to do a little work and press and things then hopefully have some time to relax with family and friends,” she said.

It’s been a whirlwind few weeks during the start of the awards season for Robbie, who shone on the red carpet at the Golden Globes.

She has two films coming out – Focus, with Will Smith, and Suite Francaise, with Michelle Williams and Kristin Scott Thomas.

She’s also finalized a deal to appear in the highly anticipated Z for Zachariah alongside Star Trek actor Chris Pine.

Child fighting for life after near drowning

A FOUR-year-old boy is fighting for his life tonight after almost drowning in a backyard swimming pool on the Gold Coast.

Emergency crews were called to the Tallebudgera Valley home just before midday on Sunday when the young child was located floating face down in the family pool.

A family friend pulled the child from the water and administered CPR before paramedics arrived and secured a pulse.

It is understood the young child was visiting with family from Brisbane.

He was transported to a Brisbane hospital in a serious condition.

Thousands turn out to support World Surfing Reserve idea

AN ESTIMATED 4000 Gold Coasters have turned out in force to defend their beaches from development at both ends of the coast.

At Kirra, the community was outraged at proposals from Leda Developments to build first a cruise terminal and then a casino resort development on Kirra beachfront.

While in the Broadwater, the community has been opposing development on Wavebreak Island and The Spit for the last two years.

The push is now on to have all beaches and foreshores from South Stradbroke Island to Coolangatta declared a World Surfing Reserves which would provide protection from developers seeking to grab public land for their benefit.

The community massed at North Kirra beach from 10am on Sunday, where they were welcomed to country by the local Yugumbeh people, to demonstrate their conviction that Gold Coast beaches and foreshores belong to all Australians and are not “for sale” to developers for their commercial benefit.

Following the speeches, all present marched down the beach and formed the letters WSR which represented World Surfing Reserve.

Lois Levy, Campaign Coordinator of Gecko-Gold Coast and Hinterland Environment Council (Gecko) said “Speaker after speaker today made it plain that the community will not accept commercial development of our beaches or the Broadwater.”

“The Premier responded positively last Thursday that his Government would not allow development at Kirra beach and we now call upon him to make a similar announcement ending speculation about development on Wavebreak Island and The Spit,” he said.

Local Member and Minister for Tourism Jan Stuckey reiterated the Premiers statement made last Thursday that ‘no cruise terminal would be built on Gold Coast beaches’.

Councillor Chris Robbins was also fully supportive of the motion as were the leaders of Save Our Southern Beaches Alliance, Save Our Spit Alliance, Surfrider Foundation, Wildlife Preservation Society, Yeskandoo, and Kirra Surf Life Saving Club.

A resolution was passed calling on the Government to protect Gold Coast beaches and the Broadwater from commercial development on public open space.

“That this assembly of people here today calls upon the Premier of Queensland to reject all applications for private commercial development on Gold Coast public open space of beaches and the Broadwater, including, but not limited to integrated resorts, a casino, and a cruise terminal , and protects these community assets for the people of Australia with appropriate legislation.”Lois Levy, Campaign Coordinator, Gecko Gold Coast & Hinterland Environment Council Association Inc. Seconded: Phil Hoile, Save Our Spit Alliance.

The motion will be sent to the Premier today and the community awaits his response.

Stosur falls to Ivanovic in Aus Open

Sam Stosur has bowed out of the Australian Open after being defeated by Serbian Ana Ivanovic.

The Gold Coast star has falled short of the quarter-finals yet again after falling 6-7 (8-10) 6-4 6-2 at Melbourne Park on Friday night.

Stosur admitted to struggling under the weight of expectation.

“You never like losing no matter what circumstances,” she said.

“But if you’re going to lose, for sure it’s better when you don’t feel like you beat yourself and you kind of did things that you know you shouldn’t.”

Stosur said she has still set herself up for a strong year ahead.

“There’s certainly lots of positives I can take from this first few weeks of the year.”

Ivanovic will now take on Serena Williams.