Spinal Life Australia has welcomed the findings of the New Generation Rollingstock Train (NGR) Commission of Inquiry, which examined how the trains were procured despite failing to meet disability legislation.
Among the findings, Commissioner Michael Forde’s report highlighted that the NGR accessibility issues were due to a clear lack of early, genuine consultation with the disability sector, along with a lack of expert knowledge on relevant legislation.
The Commissioner’s report made 24 recommendations that were accepted by the Government, which included introducing training on disability legislation and updating policies, as well as producing guidelines on how to apply these requirements when procuring infrastructure.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced that all 75 NGR trains will undergo rectification works, with two toilets to be available on each train and increased size of the toilet modules, among other functionality improvements.
Spinal Life Australia’s Chief Advisor – Government, John Mayo, said the recommendations also focused on implementing processes to effectively consult with the disability sector.
“Queenslanders with a disability have the same rights as everyone else, and that includes being able to access safe, reliable public transport services,” he said.
“What’s important now is to ensure that this kind of situation never happens again, by mandating an inclusive procurement process and implementing the Commissioner’s recommendations in full.”
Spinal Life Australia is part of the NGR Accessibility Project Working Group that will continue to work closely with the NGR team throughout the rectification process, to ensure the refurbished trains provide an accessible, inclusive customer experience.
Earlier this year, more than 16,400 people signed Spinal Life’s petition pushing for mandatory accessibility for future major infrastructure projects in response to the NGR train issues.
Click here to read the full Commission of Inquiry report.