Today we asked Transport Minister Andrew Constance how long residents will have to wait for accessibility upgrades at train stations in Petersham, Stanmore, Erskineville, Redfern, Lewisham, MacDonaldtown and St Peters. Read his response here.
Ms JENNY LEONG ( Newtown ) ( 15:15 :19 ): My question is directed to the Minister for Transport. Will the Minister tell the people who use or would like to be able to use the train stations at Petersham, Stanmore, Erskineville, Redfern, Lewisham, Macdonaldtown and St Peters—all of which are currently inaccessible stations—when the urgently needed upgrades will commence and where these stations are on the priority list.
The SPEAKER: Order! Members will cease interjecting. The member for The Entrance will come to order.
Mr ANDREW CONSTANCE ( Bega—Minister for Transport and Infrastructure) (15:15:48): I congratulate The Greens member on asking a sensible question. It just goes to show that members can ask sensible questions in question time, unlike the questions asked by the shadow Minister.
The SPEAKER: Order! The member for Kogarah will remain silent.
Mr ANDREW CONSTANCE: I am unsure whether the member for Newtown was a member of Parliament when this Government upgraded a station in her electorate.
Ms Jenny Leong: There are still seven to go.
The SPEAKER: Order! The member for Newtown will cease interjecting and listen to the answer.
Mr ANDREW CONSTANCE: She would also be aware that this Government delivered accessibility around the City Circle. Over a very long time, governments had not invested in accessibility across the train network.
Ms Jenny Leong: It is shameful.
The SPEAKER: Order! The member for Newtown will come to order. This is not a debate.
Mr ANDREW CONSTANCE: The disability services Ministers also said that it was a shame. It is important for this House to note that when we came to Government two-thirds of the stations did not have easy access. I can report to the House that 88 per cent of commuters across the network now have access. But there is more to do. I am grateful for the member's question because I can indicate that this Government is going to continue to work on this issue. The member would also know that since this Government came to office we have delivered lift access at Redfern. However, the work does not go far enough and this Government will continue to deliver this $890 million program. More needs to be done. Let me call a spade a spade. For people with disabilities one of the greatest barriers to participation in the community is access to transport. That is why this Government will continue in this vein. In relation to the inner west, I am a little disappointed with the member for Summer Hill, who is fighting an upgrade at Dulwich Hill. The Labor Party is opposed to upgrading the city to Bankstown line and all the inaccessible stations, where we want to put brand new metro stations.
Mr Jihad Dib: I don't think so.
Mr ANDREW CONSTANCE: The member for Lakemba says, "I don't think so." I am glad that his comment is on the record.
The SPEAKER: Order! The member for Bankstown will come to order.
Mr Jihad Dib: Get it on the record.
The SPEAKER: Order! The member for Lakemba will come to order. I remind the member that he is on three calls to order.
Mr ANDREW CONSTANCE: In the electorate of Newtown, the Government has recently announced a major accessibility upgrade at Central station, which will link the suburban rail lines to the new metro station that is going to be delivered.
The Government will continue to work at it. Without doubt, this Government has made significant inroads in relation to accessibility, and we will continue in that vein. There are still many small stations across the network that do not have easy access. That is why we are going to continue to invest in this year's budget. Work on the City Circle was concluded only last year. We are very conscious that stations such as Edgecliff and Redfern and those stations just beyond the City Circle precinct require much better access. Many members in this House, such as the member for Newtown, continue to advocate for their local communities. This Government has a very clear program in relation to those stations so that we can provide the access required. I note that those opposite are yawning, which demonstrates they do not care.