Dozens turn out to rally for Unanderra station access upgrades

TRAPPED: After suffering a stroke, Unanderra resident Kevin Lockey says he's 'stuck' in the suburb because of no access to the train platform. Picture: Georgia Matts

TRAPPED: After suffering a stroke, Unanderra resident Kevin Lockey says he's 'stuck' in the suburb because of no access to the train platform. Picture: Georgia Matts

The fight for lifts at Unanderra train station continues with dozens of “fed up” residents and community leaders turning out to a public rally on Saturday.

The group hoping their voices would be heard ahead of Tuesday’s state budget.

Climbing 72 steps to reach the train platform means the station is inaccessbile for people in wheelchairs and motorised scooters, and difficult for people with prams or disabilities.

Petition pages were signed, stickers with slogans handed out and speakers calling for the community to “harrass” the government on social media and via letters, asking for access upgrades.

Local resident Kevin Lockey suffered a stroke around four months ago and has been getting around on a motorised scooter ever since. He says he’s become a prisoner of his own suburb because he can’t access public transport.

“If I can’t get on the train then I’m stuck in Unanderra,” he said.

The alternative, Mr Lockey said, was an hour-long scooter ride to Wollongong train station but he would then be presented with another problem of his scooter battery going flat.

Nan Tien Temple company secretary Venerable Miaoyou said lack of access to the station also cuts access to the temple.

“We should all should be concerned because I think it’s not just for our personal gain but for everybody,” she said.

“Kids and mothers often fall off the steps and it’s a safety thing. Then they want to go to the temple so … we need to give them first aid.”

ANGRY: Bevan Fermor and Colleen Rater say it's 'disgusting' other train stations are getting access upgrades but Unanderra again misses out. Picture: Georgia Matts

ANGRY: Bevan Fermor and Colleen Rater say it's 'disgusting' other train stations are getting access upgrades but Unanderra again misses out. Picture: Georgia Matts

It follows an announcement last week of five other stations (Como, Glenbrook, Casula, Beecroft and Beverly Hills) recieving upgrades, though Unanderra again missed out.

“Stations that rank below Unanderra … are getting access upgrades,” Wollongong MP Paul Scully said.

“I can’t rationally explain why, if the government does things on an evidence basis that, that priority is being overturned.

“You’d have more people using this station if it has lifts.”

Transport for NSW has said Easy Access upgrades are made on the basis of a range of criteria with Unanderra marked to get an upgrade, though no time frame was given.

A spokeswoman for Transport for NSW  also said “concept plans” for the upgrade were being drawn up.

CAMPAIGNER: Wollongong MP Paul Scully wants Tuesday's state budget to include funding for access upgrades at Unanderra station. Picture: Georgia Matts

CAMPAIGNER: Wollongong MP Paul Scully wants Tuesday's state budget to include funding for access upgrades at Unanderra station. Picture: Georgia Matts

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