Human Rights Commission welcomes
Victorian government's decision to fast-track accessible trams
18th March 1999
a result of work by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission
(HREOC) and a decision by the Victorian government Melbourne trams are
going to become accessible for people with disabilities much sooner. Funding
arrangements have been brought forward to permit services with new accessible
trams to commence in 2002, six years earlier than under previous plans.
decision is the result of an application by the Victorian government for
an exemption under the federal Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). The
exemption extends the timeframe for replacing the existing tram fleet.
Under the DDA other public transport in Australia is being made accessible
over approximately a twenty year period.
a public inquiry, HREOC has decided to grant a temporary exemption of
five years to ensure progress towards accessible public transport. The
exemption applies only to trams, and means that public transport by bus,
train and tram will reach a high level of accessibility in 15 years and
continue to improve after that. The exemption will continue to apply when
the tram services are privatised
federal Disability Discrimination Commissioner Chris Sidoti said "The
decision reflects the strong commitment of the Victorian government, and
in particular Transport Minister Robin Cooper, to the spirit of the DDA.
rights of people with disabilities will continue to be protected by the
conditions imposed on the exemption."
conditions require the Victorian government's continued implementation
of its disability action plan for transport 21st century accessibility.
The Victorian government will report annually on progress towards accessibility.
to 53 older style trams will be kept in service indefinitely in recognition
of their heritage value on the basis the Victorian government will provide
accessible alternative public transport.
decision highlights the public benefit of a co-operative approach to issues
of disability access", said Mr Sidoti.
further information and interview requests please call
Broderick on (02) 9284 9880 or 0419 258 597