The Minister for Transport has announced a $32 million upgrade for disability access at Marrickville Train Station, leaving Redfern Station commuters out in the cold again.
Minister Gladys Berejiklian said the project is part of the New South Wales Government’s $770 million Transport Access Programme, an initiative to deliver accessible, modern, secure and integrated transport infrastructure where it is needed.
“There will be new station entry points, a new concourse, stairs to boost customer access and CCTV [closed circuit television] cameras for added security,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“Two new lifts will be installed to make it easier for the elderly, people with disability and parents with prams to catch the train.”
Disability Discrimination Commissioner Graeme Innes welcomed the steps made so far.
“Access for people with disabilities is significantly improving, driven by the Transport Access Programme,” Mr Innes said.
“While we still have a ways to go, over the last eight to 10 years we can claim some real progress.”
Ms Berejiklian said in August last year a lift for Redfern Station’s platform six and seven would be provided under the Transport Access Programme.
The minster acknowledged the problems at Redfern Station in January.
“At the moment it is virtually impossible for people in wheelchairs to access trains at Redfern and extremely difficult for parents with prams and the elderly, so this is a good start to ensure all customers can access the network at Redfern,” she said.
“Lift access to Redfern is a pressing issue and that is why we are providing a solution.”
However, Transport Projects are still working on specific designs and a construction timetable.
Mr Innes said he advocates increased access at Redfern Station.
“The NSW government took an approach to deliver services to the busiest stations first, so it would affect the greatest number of commuters.
“However, Redfern is an exception to that rule – as one of the busier stations, it hasn’t been made accessible. We’re now 12 years in to the rollout of the Transport Access Programme and, given Redfern’s place in the network and its level of usage, it should be accessible.”
Lift Redfern is an amalgamation of community groups which want to improve disability access to Redfern Station. Members circulated a petition in 2011 and gained 11,500 signatures in support of a lift.
“People with disabilities, older people, parents with young children, pregnant women, people with short term mobility issues through illness or injury, and people with luggage or shopping have great difficulty in accessing or cannot access the station as there are no lifts to any platform,” the group said in a statement.
Accessibility is not being achieved at the rate it should be, Lift Redfern said.
“Redfern/Waterloo is home to one of the highest populations of social housing communities many of whom are elderly and frail . . . The timeline for compliance with federal laws regarding access to public transport is 55% accessible by the end of 2012 with 100% accessibility by 2022.”
Mr Innes said he welcomed the pledged upgrades, but more needed to be done.
“It’s progress and it’s always good to see progress. But I really think it’s time [Redfern] was made accessible.”