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Estimates: Train station accessibility timeline

During Parliamentary Budget Estimates on Tuesday 8 August 2023, I asked If there was a timeline for Taringa station and other Train Stations being made accessible and compliant to the federal disability standards.

You can read the answers below or in the official Queensland Parliament Record of Proceedings (Hansard).

Mr BERKMAN: I want to put my first question to the acting director-general. You would be aware that there are a number of stations in the Queensland Rail network, including Taringa station in my electorate, that are not compliant with federal disability standards despite the deadline for compliance having passed last year. I understand that many, including Taringa, have no upgrades planned at all at this stage. My question is: does the government have a time line or a target for full compliance across
the network?

Mr BAILEY: Point of order: is this question better asked of the Queensland Rail CEO? I am trying to be helpful.

Mr BERKMAN: I am more than happy to put to it to the Queensland Rail CEO unless the acting DG is able to—

CHAIR: I will ask the director-general if you wish to defer. I am conscious of the time, member for Maiwar. I will give you time in the next session as well.

Ms Stannard: The Queensland Rail CEO will be able to talk to the detail of the disability upgrade program. I can confirm that there is a strong commitment to removing barriers to passenger transport
use for people with a disability. We do publish interim disability action plans that state our intended program of work. They are developed in consultation with members of the TMR Accessibility Reference
Group and they focus on high-impact new initiatives and programs of work that can improve accessibility for our customers.

CHAIR: Member for Maiwar, if you have questions for the acting director-general while she is here, please continue.

Mr BERKMAN: If you would suggest there is value in putting the question to the Queensland Rail CEO—

CHAIR: We probably do not have time, but I will allow you time to do that in the next session if that is okay..........

Mr BERKMAN: I want to revisit the earlier question I asked, now that we have the QR CEO with us. I assume you heard it earlier, but the general gist is the number of stations in the Queensland Rail network that are awaiting upgrades to reach federal disability standards. I do have a particular interest in Taringa, as you would have heard, given that it is in my electorate, but the overarching question is: does QR have a time line or a target for full compliance across the network with disability access standards?

Ms Stapleton: Queensland Rail is absolutely determined to provide safe, reliable and customer-focused services across South-East Queensland and the regions. Last year, we carried 42.8 million or close to 43 million customers, which was an increase of over 30 per cent year on year. We want to attract people to our network. In particular, we understand clearly that we want to make sure that stations are accessible for people with disability, for parents or carers with prams, for senior citizens, as well as for active transport. We have 152 stations, and some of them are actually quite old. In order to deliver the full program, we have do it in a programmatic fashion and in tranches. I am pleased to report that we have already completed 12 of them. In addition to platform upgrades at South Bank, an extra five have now been contracted out. This is part of tranche 4 and this includes five different stations which are Banyo, Buranda, Bundamba, Burpengary, Lindum and Morningside—actually, six of them; Buranda was signed last week. We are getting on with it, but it is a big task ahead of us. As the minister mentioned earlier as well, we have the benefit of Cross River Rail which is upgrading a number of stations as well as building new stations for us which we look forward to operating.

In terms of Taringa itself, I understand that we have had a number of engagements with yourself and your office in the past. The topography and location is actually quite challenging at Taringa. I also
understand there are a couple of stations nearby which are fully accessible, being Toowong and Indooroopilly, so people may have a choice with that. However, having said all that, I can advise that Taringa station is under consideration for the next tranche of stations. Obviously the way we prioritise has a number of factors in there and that includes, for example, current patronage, the current conditions, the topography, the level of access and constructability, and we feel we also need to consider other matters such as surrounding population demographics, future patronage, how it fits with the Cross River Rail combinations and changes to the network design. As such, we work very closely with the Department of Transport, and we expect them to provide our recommendations for consideration by the Department of Transport and funding availability as well so that we can deliver on those.

Mr BERKMAN: Thank you. I appreciate the detail on Taringa. To that original question, though, am I to take it from your answer that there is not an overarching target? I understand it is a big network, it is a big job, but there is not a target or time line to achieve compliance across the network?

Ms Stapleton: Noting the 152 stations, we are working very diligently to ensure we progress as quickly as possible. That is why we go through tranches and we try very hard to take a programmatic tranche approach to those, but I think it would be difficult for me to speculate when all 152 are done.

Mr BAILEY: The DG has supplementary information.

Ms Stannard: Very briefly for the benefit of the committee, the member asked about the standards. I want to inform the committee that we have an interim disability action plan. The reason it is interim is that one of the key actions is working with the Commonwealth and other jurisdictions on the modernisation of the disability standards for accessible public transport. That review is underway. Once the outcomes are known, then we will be able to co-design with those with lived experiences a new action plan, together with our stakeholders.

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