Time to get on the bus: Landmark disability discrimination claim hearing against Murrays in the Federal Court

When Sydney resident Julia Haraksin tried to travel to Canberra with Murrays Australia Limited in August 2009, none of Murrays’ coaches and buses were wheelchair accessible. 

Ms Haraksin has osteogenesis imperfecta (brittle bone disease) and uses an electric wheelchair.

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), acting on behalf of Ms Haraksin, claims Murrays is in breach of the national Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport. 

From 23 October 2002, all new vehicles brought into use for a public transport service had to comply with the Disability Standards. By the end of 2007, 25% of existing vehicles had to comply with the Disability Standards. 

‘Ms Haraksin is not seeking financial compensation,’ PIAC Solicitor Gemma Namey says. ‘She is asking the Federal Court to order Murrays to modify the vehicles they own or operate so that they are wheelchair accessible and comply with the Disability Standards.’ 

The disability discrimination complaint is listed for hearing before the Federal Court from 17 to 20 October 2011. 

PIAC has been advocating for accessible public transport for people with disability for a number of years, acting in cases against Virgin Blue, the NSW Department of Transport and two large taxi companies.

‘Accessible public transport is a human right. People with disability should not have to go to court in order to catch a bus,’ Ms Namey said.

Ms Julia Haraksin (c), assisted by PIAC Solicitor Ms Gemma Namey (l) and counsel Ms Chris Ronalds SC (r), is claiming Murrays Australia Limited is in breach of the national Disability Standards.

MEDIA CONTACT: Dominic O’Grady, PIAC Senior Media and Communications Adviser 

Ph: 02 8898 6532 or 0431 485 335

See media coverage ABCTV News and Ninemsn

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