Spinal Life Australia has called for accessibility to become a mandatory part of the Queensland state infrastructure procurement process, in anticipation of the Commissioners Inquiry report into the New Generation Rollingstock Trains (NGR).
Commissioner Michael Forde’s report was submitted to the Premier and Minister for Trade on 3 December and is expected to be released to the public on Monday, 10 December.
The NGR trains were widely criticised after they were put into commission despite failing to comply with disability legislation, including bathrooms that were inaccessible to most wheelchair users.
Chief Executive Officer Michael Powell said the entire debacle showed the importance of considering Queenslanders with a disability when planning state projects and procuring infrastructure.
“Earlier in 2018, Spinal Life released a petition pushing for full mandatory accessibility for future major infrastructure projects, in response to the NGR trains being put into service despite accessibility issues,” Mr Powell said.
“That petition received more than 16,400 signatures and we’re hoping that Commissioner Forde’s findings will see the State Government mandate a procurement process that ensures no Queenslander is excluded from service.
“We’ve seen what happens when accessibility is not taken into account at the procurement and design stages – the NGR trains will now cost hundreds of millions to make the trains functional for all passengers to use.
“We’ve previously called on every State Parliamentarian to support the Government to mandate an inclusive procurement process and we hope the Commissioner’s report highlights just how critical this is.”
We strongly advocated for these changes in our submission to Commissioner Forde’s Inquiry.