Thursday, 30 August
Australian Greens Disability Rights spokesperson Senator Jordon Steele-John said today Australia’s inaccessible public transport systems were preventing thousands of disabled Australian’s from accessing work and living independently.
“It is no great surprise to me that so many of the train networks in our major urban areas present significant accessibility issues for disabled people, however this is really only the tip of the iceberg,” Senator Steele-John said.
“Often there is only a single lift which, if broken, can leave people with mobility issues stranded on platforms – this has happened to me at Perth Esplanade Train Station trying to get to my office in the CBD a number of times.
“Quite often there is a gap between the train and station, or platform level is higher or lower than the level of the train. These may not be an obstacle for most people but for many disabled Australians they make using public transport unsafe.
“And there are also significant issues with other forms of public transport, such as our bus and tram systems.
“I know in my home state of WA less than 30% of all bus stops are accessible to people with mobility issues, and whilst they are in the process of updating them the process is not expected to be completed until I am 40 years old, in 2034!
“Melbourne has a similar problem with it tram system; because you often have to access the tram from the road, people with mobility issues are completely discriminated against using that form of public transport.
“It's time to talk about disability differently. It's time to build our places and spaces differently, change attitudes and recognise that we are all different and unique.
“Inaccessibility in our built environment is discrimination. I want to see that change as a matter of priority so that disabled Australians can have the same quality of life and the same independence as the rest of us.”