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Council escalates Lift Redfern campaign

The City of Sydney has stepped up pressure on government ministers to address the issue of poor facilities at Redfern Station reports Punam Vyas in City News on 12 April 2012.

The community’s popular “Lift Redfern” campaign is expected to reach its target of 10,000 petition signatures, which will result in parliamentary debate.

Although upgrades were promised over 20 years ago, ministers have failed to provide a timeline or start date.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore MP urged Central Sydney Traffic and Transport Committee to resolve the lack of wheelchair access to the station as one of its first tasks.

“I welcome and support the Lift Redfern campaign and I ask that Council also endorse it and give its full support,” she said.

Despite being the seventh busiest station of the CityRail Network, there is no wheelchair access to and around the station, even though the station’s east end platform has room to insert a lift.

Greens Councillor and Redfern resident Irene Doutney fully backs the cause. “I think people have been campaigning for the last 10 years,” she said.

“There have always been promises from the state that something was going to happen but they say there are engineering difficulties because of the narrow platforms.”

The Big Issue vendor Eddie suffers from Spina Bifida and has been in a wheelchair all his life.

To make a living, he sells the magazine which involves travelling fortnightly to the Redfern office from his Campbelltown home.

“I take the train to Central Station – which is fully wheelchair accessible – and then have to backtrack, because there is no way I can access Redfern Station without a lift,” he said.

“I have no other choice but to do this longer commute, even though it increases my journey time by half an hour.

I have thought about chucking in the job a few times because of this,” he said.

Spokesperson for community group RedWatch, Geoff Turnbull said: “The campaign is our way of saying we have had enough.

With all but one rail line running through Redfern Station, it is not just used by locals, but serves Sydney University, the National Centre of Indigenous Ecellence and many community centres.

“We are trying to drive that point home to the government. People are annoyed, because it is a campaign that should not have had to happen in the first place.”