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
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
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 AAP/The Australian
RailCorp discriminates against blind, court finds Sydney Morning Herald
Photo: Aly Morgan/PIAC