Adding extra disabled parking spaces at Unanderra train station is “ironic”, according to a campaigner for lift access.
Bec Schmidt from the Unanderra Access Group (UAG) said she and other campaigners recently noticed the number of disabled parking spaces at the station had been increased from two to three.
Ms Schmidt said she believed this extra space was added during the last upgrade of Unanderra station.
She said the extra parking space was odd, given that many disabled people cannot get on the platform because the only access is via two sets of stairs.
“I find it very ironic,” Ms Schmidt said.
“It’s great that there are extra spaces but it doesn’t help that we can’t get on the platform. So it wouldn’t really make much difference if they were all handicapped.”
The UAG met with parliamentary secretary for the Illawarra Gareth Ward on Friday.
Mr Ward said he initially found the provision of an extra disabled space at Unanderra station to be “curious” but it made sense “on reflection”.
“Keep in mind that in order to receive parking permit you don’t necessarily have to have a mobility disability,” Mr Ward said.
“People with visual impairments who are being dropped off by carers are also entitled to disability access car parking spaces.”
At Friday’s meeting, Ms Schmidt said Mr Ward told them there was a priority list that ranked all the stations but he was unable to get access to it.
She said Mr Ward advised them to file a Freedom of Information request to see the list.
“It’s very disappointing that after three meetings with Mr Ward this year we are still completely in the dark as to whether Unanderra station is on the list for an accessibility upgrade in this term of the Baird government and what the priority rating is for Unanderra station,” Ms Schmidt said.
Mr Ward did not refute the claim that he was not able to get the priority list.
“The reason for that is that the list is being reviewed,” he said.
“The minister, since becoming the minister, has undertaken to review the Transport Access Program and that’s entirely appropriate.”
But he said where Unanderra appeared on the list was irrelevant to him.
“It wouldn’t worry me where it was, I would continue to argue for it to receive funding,” he said.
“I’ve always made it clear that I see Unanderra as a station that needs upgrading and I’ll continue to work with the community towards that.”