NSW is lagging so far behind on all things accessible transport

Today in Question Time, Abigail asked when we will finally see the new Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport. 

Ms ABIGAIL BOYD (11:16): My question is directed to the Minister for Roads, representing the Minister for Transport. Last year there were two reviews into the National Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport, one of which focused on modernising the standards. The disability advocacy sector has yet to see the new draft standards. What is the time line for the public release of the new standards and the time line for New South Wales compliance with the new standards?


The Hon. JOHN GRAHAM (Special Minister of State, Minister for Roads, Minister for the Arts, Minister for Music and the Night-time Economy, and Minister for Jobs and Tourism) (11:16): I thank the member for her question. I know this has been an issue that she has dealt with in a range of forums, including in the Chamber. Over time she has been an advocate in this space. It is important to the Government and the Minister for Transport to act in this area. One of the actions of the Minister has been to champion the Transport Access Program, as well as the Commuter Car Park Program. That has seen an increase in funding in the State budget and is one of the areas that has been prioritised very early on.

I have some transport information for the member that is available. I am advised that the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002 (Transport Standards) is a legislative instrument under the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992. It specifies minimum standards to make public transport accessible to the widest range of people with disabilities. As a result of that being Commonwealth legislation, this review and the modernisation of transport standards is being led by the Australian Government. It is in consultation with all the States, including with the New South Wales Government. The most recent activity was in June 2023 where the Australian Government presented to the transport Ministers' forum a Decision Regulation Impact Statement outlining a significant package of reform areas. There are 19 reforms for retrospective application to existing systems and assets. At the meeting in June those reform options were supported by the Ministers.

In December last year the Australian Government advised the meeting of infrastructure and transport Ministers that reforms would be progressed to the next stage of regulation design. New South Wales Government officials have subsequently been advised that the Decision Regulation Impact Statement will be published by the Australian Government in due course. The Australian Government has also advised that once the Attorney General has signed off the reform package, a legislative review process to drive the agreed reforms into effect will commence.

The time frame for the commencement of the new standards will have to be determined by that process to design the legislation and have it assented to by the Parliament of Australia. Obviously the New South Wales Government and the Minister in particular are taking a close interest in it. I am sure the Minister would be open to updating the member further. These are important questions. We are engaged in that combination of the Federal process and the direct budget funding and focus on that transport access program, which have been important to the Government.

See Hansard for the full transcript.

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