The Council would advocate on behalf of those with vision, hearing, physical, or cognitive impairments, as well as older people, parents, and youth justice groups. The Council will directly advise the Minister, the director-general of Transport and Main Roads, and the CEO of Queensland Rail.
Queensland Transport Minister Mark Bailey said the Council would assist the government in avoiding accessibility issues, such as the bungled design of the New Generation Rollingstock (NGR), which required the trains to be retrofitted to comply with disability legislation.
“The existing approach to accessibility on road and transport upgrades has been piecemeal, and this new independent body will provide frank and expert advice on how we can make our record $23 billion pipeline of road and transport projects accessible for all Queenslanders,” said Bailey.
“The establishment of the Queensland Accessible Transport Advisory Council (QATAC) will provide disability-sector representatives with an unprecedented opportunity for early and authentic consultation on all major transport projects.
In addition to the Council, the Queensland government is investing $500 million in accessibility upgrades for train stations in the state’s south east.
“As part of Queensland’s economic recovery plan, the Palaszczuk Government is investing an additional $136 million for accessibility upgrades at Bundamba, Burpengary, Banyo and Wooloowin train stations which will include full platform raising, setting a new standard for all future station upgrades to be delivered by Queensland Rail,” said Bailey.
Chairing the Council is former District Court judge Michael Forde, who was a commissioner on the NGR inquiry. An expression of interest process for membership has now begun and will run until mid-November.
“This will be a template for all transport infrastructure, requiring the council be formally consulted before the finalisations of any plans. This will apply to all forms of transport,” said Forde.