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Campaign ratchets up pressure for lifts at Redfern

REDFERN: Campaign organisers and local residents gathered outside Redfern station on Monday March 19 to mark the official launch of the Lift Redfern campaign, as frustration over government inaction grows. The campaign is lobbying for lifts to be installed at Redfern station, as current access options are unsafe and unusable for many public transport users with mobility issues reports Charles Turnbull in the April 2012 edition of The South Sydney Herald.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore, members of the local council, and the Disability Discrimination Commissioner Graeme Innes attended the public meeting and threw their support behind the movement. Mr Innes congratulated the crowd and said the community action had begun to “raise the focus on Redfern station” which has been “sidelined” in successive government agendas.

The campaign also received backing from the University of Sydney, which sees large numbers of students using the station. “This is a really important issue for the university and we stand here in support for this campaign,” said Professor Stephen Garton, Acting Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney.

In response to parliamentary questions to the Transport Minister from Clover Moore about the time frame for station development, the Minister Gladys Berejiklian said: “The government is in the process of determining where future upgrades to stations will take place and Redfern station will be considered as part of this review.” This response has angered campaigners who believe that the state government has ignored the issue for too long.

The campaign is now aiming to force the issue into the spotlight by focusing on a petition drive in and around Redfern station. Ten thousand signatures would see the issue debated in state parliament. Geoff Turnbull, spokesperson for Redfern community group REDWatch, said that gaining the right numbers was only the start of the fight. “We don’t think that 10,000 signatures is going to be the be all and end all, it’s just basically part of getting pressure on the government ... It’s really about trying to just ratchet up the pressure so it’s just embarrassing not to deal with such a large and important conversation,” he said.

Equitable access to Redfern station has been raised for the last 20 years but successive state governments have brushed aside the issue. “We have heard so many promises,” said Greens Councillor Irene Doutney. The issue has regained momentum recently after a Mayoral Minute supporting the campaign was fully endorsed by the City of Sydney. The Council will also ask the soon-to-be established Central Sydney Traffic and Transport Committee to make equitable access at Redfern a priority issue.

Petitions will be collected in and around the station until April 18 and community members and transport users are encouraged to support the campaign to help collect the 10,000 signatures. As of Friday March 30 the count was 5,768, with two weeks to go.

Photo: Andrea Srisurapon Clover Moore, Graeme Innes and campaigners for equal access at Redfern station  & Photo: Bill Yan: Laura Kelly from South Sydney Community Aid collects signatures for petition  

Source: The South Sydney Herald April 2012 –