Disability advocacy groups have slammed the Queensland government’s timetable to fix its new trains which won’t see them compliant with disability access laws until 2024.
The 75 multi-billion dollar Next Generation NGR trains were signed off by the Campbell Newman government, despite failing disability access tests, including not having enough space for wheelchairs to move into the aisle.
The cost to fix the problems is estimated at $335.7 million and is not expected to be complete until 2024.
Flawed from the beginning
Geoff Trappett, from disability advocacy group Inclusion Moves, said the fact the trains were flawed from the beginning shows a lack of respect for people with a disability.
“It’s just not good enough in this day and age,” he told ABC News.
“People with a disability have rights to travel on trains and have right to inclusive transport.
“The issue of the rectification time frame is one that really angers people with a disability.
“We notified the Government of these issues some years ago — in late 2015 — so that rectification had started then.
“Then we would be nearing the end of the rectification work, so it’s simply not good enough to have non-compliant trains on the track for another six or seven years.”
Trains should never have been approved
Social justice advocate Miles Heffernan from Harassment Claims said the trains should never have been approved in the first place.
“This was government incompetence from the very beginning – people in Queensland Rail knew the trains were not compliant with our disability access laws, but they signed off on them anyway – and now it’s the taxpayer who has to foot the bill to fix the mess.
“Campbell Newman and his one-term wrecking ball government have got a lot to answer for.”
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