Access program derailed: Government admits rail disability program behind schedule

IT is "appalling" the State Government will not meet a 2022 federal deadline to make all suburban train stations accessible to people with mobility problems, state Greens MP for Maiwar, Michael Berkman, says.

Mr Berkman quizzed state Transport Minister Mark Bailey about the issue in parliamentary Estimates.

Mr Bailey admitted the government was behind schedule to meet the federal deadline, with an upgrade at Auchenflower train station only in the design phase.

He gave no timeframe for upgrading the Taringa station's disability access.

"Sure, there is a substantial investment required, but this is what the federal legislation requires," Mr Berkman said.

"The fact the government has given up on the 2022 target is disappointing.

"One thing I find frustrating is the government's response that 83 per cent of commuters now have a disabilities-accessible station.

"It's not possible for everyone to bounce down to the next station if they don't have one nearby."

Mr Bailey said in Estimates that the Toowong, Graceville and Indooroopilly stations were now accessible, while Auchenflower's upgrade was in the early phase.

"The very nature of upgrades to accessibility of stations over time has been that obviously the higher volume stations were targeted earlier (by) successive governments," he said.

"I think it is fair to say that no state will meet that federal requirement in terms of having all of their stations fully accessible by that date, but Queensland is more advanced than other states.

"We are doing that work as quickly as we can, but it does take a little bit of time to do that, because you have to involve communities in the consultation and design.

"You also have to keep the rail system open 24/7 or, depending on the station, a lot of the time, so you have to work around those issues of operation throughout.

"You also have to keep all of the workers and the people who use the station safe throughout."

Courier Mail, 9/8/2018

Brendan O'Malley

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