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Question Time: Taringa Train Station accessibility

On Tuesday 28 November 2023 I asked the Transport Minister if he would commit to adding Taringa Train Station to the Station Accessibility Upgrade Program. 

You can read the question, and the Minister's response, below, or in the official Queensland Parliament Record of Proceedings (Hansard)

Mr BERKMAN: My question this morning is to the Minister for Transport. Taringa train station is still only accessible by stairs, making it entirely inaccessible for people in wheelchairs, those with mobility issues and people with prams. Will the minister listen to the more than 1,700 people who signed my petition and commit to adding the Taringa train station to the Station Accessibility Upgrade Program?

Mr BAILEY: This government takes accessibility on our train network very seriously. I believe that we have now upgraded eight stations and we have another five stations under the Queensland Rail program. Some of them have had early works done already—I think Bundamba and a few other places—with heavy work to start in January. We also have accessibility upgrades for Salisbury into Dutton Park—that string of old stations. We have finished Fairfield and Yeronga. There is work going on at Dutton Park and Rocklea, with Salisbury and Moorooka to come. The Ekka station will become a full-time station and it will be fully accessible. As well, there are four new underground stations that are being built to disability compliant standards. We now have accessibility upgrades covering about 82 to 83 per cent of the commuters across the network. Necessarily, accessibility programs in the early stations have been targeted—not just by this government, but by other governments—in high-volume stations for maximum benefit, and then we work our way through the system. I understand that the member would like to see an accessibility upgrade at Taringa. We are looking at that and many others. 

In terms of where the next tranche of upgrades will be, I cannot give the member a commitment about timing at this stage in terms of that station. It will be upgraded at some point in the future, as all stations will be upgraded in the future. At the moment we have a program of five new ones, adding to the considerable number under Cross River Rail. We have never seen this level of accessibility work being done on our stations at one time. We will continue that program. There are more than half a billion dollars going into the Queensland Rail program in addition to the Cross River Rail program. 

Accessibility is something that we take seriously. We are making sure those new trains we are building in Maryborough are disability compliant. It is one thing for stations to be compliant, but you have to make sure the trains are compliant as well. We are currently fixing the NGRs that were ordered by the previous government. We can necessarily only do eight of those at a time in order to keep the network rolling. I believe that we have fixed 56 out of a total of 75 NGR trains that were ordered by the Newman government. We will complete that next year. 

In terms of the issue at Taringa, I am happy to keep the honourable member informed of future deliberations, but there will need to be a future tranche of upgrades after the current ones. That will start in January next year.

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