The Baird Government secretly deferred 170 vital disability, accessibility and safety upgrades to NSW train stations and ferry wharfs amidst a $23 million blowout in its Transport Access Program.
Documents released under freedom of information laws reveal that 44 per cent of Sydney train stations and 26 per cent of intercity train stations had a project deferred.
Delays include safer night-time lighting, installation of help points, family accessible toilets, lifts and ramps, basic rain cover for station platforms, and commuter car parking.
The FOI documents also reveal at least a $23.32 million blowout in the final cost of completed projects.
This includes a $5.1 million blowout in upgrading Huntley’s Point Ferry Wharf and a $1.8 million blowout to Mosman Bay Ferry Wharf upgrades.
The table below details deferred projects at some of the state’s busiest transport hubs.
Refusing to provide access to public transport for people with disabilities violates the Disability Inclusion Act 2014 which states that “people with a disability have the same human rights as other members of the community and that the State and the community have a responsibility to facilitate the exercise of those rights.
Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for Transport Jodi McKay
“The scale of the Government’s mess is extraordinary - nearly half of all train stations in Sydney have had an upgrade deferred.
“At no point has Transport Minister Andrew Constance come clean about this mess.
“The Minister needs to be upfront. Are the deferrals indefinite and can he get this program back on track?
“This is the third revelation in less than two weeks that a transport project is out of control.”
Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for Disability Services Sophie Cotsis
“A lift or ramp for people with disabilities, ageing or parents with prams is not a luxury upgrade but a necessity for an inclusive city.
“For many members in the community, no lift or ramp access means they can’t access public transport at all. It’s unacceptable to be delaying these projects.
“Every commuter deserves to have access to the NSW rail network – but for thousands of people with disabilities, elderly passengers and travelling mums that sadly isn’t the case.”
Quotes attributable to Shadow Parliamentary Secretary Daniel Mookhey
“The people who are paying for multimillion dollar blowout harbor side wharfs are people with disabilities, ageing and parents with prams in Sydney’s West.
“The Government’s mishandling of major state projects is becoming a farce.
“Time and again it is revealed that a project’s blown out by millions or billions and are repeatedly delayed.”