$17.6M promise, but only $50K in the budget
UPGRADES to East Ipswich train station are unlikely to be finished within the next three years, despite being a key election commitment.
The budget revealed only $50,000 of a promised $17.6 million had been allocated to urgent upgrades at East Ipswich train station to make it accessible to people with a disability.
A steep ramp and a set of stairs is the only access to the station.
During the election campaign, Ipswich MP Jennifer Howard said the limited accessibility was an issue voters had raised frequently during her term as the state representative.
The State Government has committed to funding the rest of the project, with the $50,000 allocated in this year's budget to undertake the design of the upgrade, Ms Howard said yesterday.
That means it will be at least one year until construction starts, which will likely take two years to finish.
"The most important thing people need to know is the upgrade is fully funded," Ms Howard said.
Ms Howard was unable to give a time frame on the works but said she was committed to keeping the community informed, as updates became available.
All public transport must be brought up to minimum accessibility standards by 2022.
Inclusion Moves founder Geoff Trappett said while he was glad East Ipswich had been scheduled for upgrades, he was suspicious of the small funding allocation.
"To have a small amount of funding included in this year's budget simply to say you have started a project does nothing for social inclusion for people with a disability," he said.
Mr Trappett said the lack of access made people with a disability "feel like second class citizens".
"To have areas that are completely blocked off to an entire subset of the population, in this day and age, is just unacceptable," he said.
Rail Back On Track transport advocate Robert Dow has doubts about whether the government will be able to meet the 2022 deadline for disability access compliance.
"About 50 per cent of the train stations aren't compliant," Mr Dow said.
"It feels like they are not taking disability compliance seriously. At this rate we're not going to make it."
Queensland Rail is executing an accessibility action plan, with the first projects rolling out in 2015.
Upgrades have been finished at Graceville, Dinmore, Alderley, Newmarket and Nambour. Works have started at Strathpine, Boondall and Morayfield.
A further eight stations, including East Ipswich, are listed as in the design stage.
A 24-hour assistance service for people with a disability is also available via text message, phone and email.
Visit queenslandrail.com.au for more information.