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Getting off at Redfern: wheelchair access denied

Over 40,000 passengers per day walk through the turnstiles at Redfern station, but 10 years after Disability Standards for Accessible Pubic Transport were introduced, there is still no access for disabled people at one of Sydney’s busiest train stations reports Jason Marshall in City Hub on 5 January 2012.


10 of the 12 busy platforms are accessable through steep concrete steps, the other 2 underground platforms are reachable by escalator, but there is no wheelchair access to any of the platforms.

Transport for NSW said 75 per cent of passengers across the rail network do have disability access, according to the Director of Disability Rights Policy at the Australian Human Rights Comission, David Mason, precise measurements are difficult to take and access to Redfern station is not yet required.

“The Disability Discrimination Act does not yet require access to all public transport: there is a required schedule for phased achievement of access as per the Disability Standards for Accessible Pubic Transport which commenced in 2002 and set out a series of targets from there,” he said.

“Given the importance of Redfern as an interchange and as a link to the university and other major facilities it would of course be desirable for Redfern to be accessible as soon as possible.”

Greens MP and transport spokesperson Cate Faehrmann asked questions of the government on notice during Budget Estimates hearings regarding improved access at Redfern station.

“From the Minister’s response it appears that the Easy Access upgrade for Redfern hasn’t even been scheduled yet. This isn’t good enough,” Ms Faehrmann said.

“This is a key station that services a very densely populated community. It should be treated with the utmost priority,” Ms Faehrmann said.

Spokesperson for Redfern community group REDWatch, Geoffrey Turnbull, said: “In 2003 we asked for at least one lift so at least people with mobility problems could access Redfern even if they needed to travel via Central to change to another line”.

REDWatch and other groups are renewing their call in 2012 for one lift to be built as a matter of urgency.

“We need to force the issue on Redfern Station otherwise it could be many more years before we see access problems addressed.”

A Transport for NSW spokesperson said they are undertaking a review into the way stations are selected for easy access upgrades, commuter car parks and interchanges and general station upgrades in order to ensure the best possible outcome for public transport customers and the taxpayer.

After the review is completed the Government will be in a position to announce new and additional rail station upgrades based on the updated criteria.

However, action is far from assured.

“We understand that nothing will happen until the new government finalises their Transport Master Plan. Redfern station will then need to compete for funding up against other transport projects” Mr Turnbull said.