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19 June 2019

Call to improve disability access on the Warrnambool line

Minister for Public Transport Melissa Horne has been urged to take action to ensure appropriate disability access for people using the Warrnambool rail line.

Ms Britnell raised the matter in Parliament on Wednesday, saying her office is continually contacted by people living with a disability and their carers about the unacceptable access issues.

She said one recent example involved a woman who was visiting the region for a disability access conference not being able to access the station toilets or being able to board the train because a ramp was not available.

“While waiting at the station, the young woman found that she was unable to access the toilet. Despite the appearance of a large – and universally recognised – disabled sign, her mobility scooter wouldn’t fit through its doors and she suffered the indignity of her scooter becoming wedged in the door,” Ms Britnell said.

“When it came time to board the train, the woman encountered further difficulty. Boarding was made challenging – and probably quite frightening – due to the absence of an adequate ramp.”

Ms Britnell said this was not an isolated incident. She has previously raised issues in the parliament that included issues surrounding the availability of wheelchair accessible rail carriages and an ongoing problem with an out of order accessible toilet which forced a father to carry his disabled son from one end of the train to the other.

“It is appalling that our trains and the station itself do not comply with modern disability access standards,” Ms Britnell said.

“Any government which thinks this is acceptance has a case to answer. I call on the Minster to take urgent action to address these issues and to give everyone equal access to our public transport network.”