For almost two years, Graeme Innes AM has been urging RailCorp NSW to get serious about its obligations towards rail passengers with disability.
Mr Innes (pictured below left), who is blind, has made repeated complaints to RailCorp about its failure to provide audible announcements on trains. These announcements are crucial because they allow passengers with vision impairment to know they are getting off at the right station.
Mr Innes tried to resolve the issue through mediation, without success. Now the Federal Magistrates Court will consider the matter at a hearing commencing this Monday, 13 August.
The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) is representing Mr Innes. PIAC claims RailCorp’s failure to provide audible announcements is in in breach of federal disability discrimination law.
‘Our main goal is to have RailCorp comply with its obligations under the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002,‘ said PIAC chief executive, Edward Santow (pictured below right).
‘Every citizen is entitled to use public transport services without discrimination,’ Mr Santow said.
‘PIAC has taken on this discrimination case because we believe the law should provide a fair and practical outcome for Mr Innes. Public transport should be for all members of the public, regardless of their disability,’ Mr Santow said.
Mr Innes, who is the Disability Discrimination Commissioner, is pursuing the case in his private capacity.
‘All I’m seeking is for RailCorp to do what they do for everyone who is able to read print. That is, tell me where I am,’ Mr Innes said.
CONTACT: PIAC Senior Media and Communications Adviser, Dominic O’Grady: 0478 739 280.
Photo credits: Top right, Flikr; above left, Graeme Innes, courtesy of Australian Human Rights Commission; above right, Edward Santow, courtesy of Brendan Esposito.