RailCorp announcements ‘reactive & haphazard’

Graeme Innes

For almost two years, Graeme Innes AM urged RailCorp NSW to get serious about its obligations towards Sydney’s rail passengers with disability by ensuring that its trains provide audible ‘next stop’ announcements.

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) is representing Mr Innes (pictured). After mediation with RailCorp failed, Mr Innes sued the state-owned rail corporation in the Federal Magistrates Court, alleging its failure to provide audible announcements breached Federal Disability Discrimination law.

In a landmark decision delivered this morning, the Federal Magistrates Court sided with Mr Innes.

Federal Magistrate Kenneth Raphael ordered RailCorp to pay $10,000 in compensation to Mr Innes.

Magistrate Raphael said Mr Innes had suffered indirect discrimination, and RailCorp had been ‘reactive and haphazard’ in its response to Mr Innes’ complaints.

PIAC Chief Executive, Edward Santow, said court action was taken to ensure RailCorp complied with its obligations under the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002.

He said Mr Innes, who is blind, is entitled to use public transport services without discrimination.

‘Audible train announcements are crucial because they allow passengers with vision impairment to know they are getting off at the right station,’ Mr Santow said.

Mr Innes, who is the Disability Discrimination Commissioner, took the case in his private capacity. ‘All I wanted was for RailCorp to do what they do for everyone who is able to read print. That is, tell me where I am,’ he said.

Related coverage:

Disability commissioner wins case against trains ABC RN Drive

Disability Commissioner wins case AAP/The Australian

RailCorp discriminates against blind, court finds Sydney Morning Herald

Photo: Aly Morgan/PIAC

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