A disturbing video has today been published of a man, a double-amputee, struggling up a flight of stairs at the New South Wales train station. The video has raised questions about why there aren’t more ramps and lifts available to both the alternatively abled and those who have difficulties with mobility.
According to the Australian Human Rights Commission’s website, close to 4 million Australians have a disability, a further 50 per cent of Australians have difficulties with mobility, hearing or vision and by the time 2050 rolls around, more than 25 per cent of the country’s population will be over 65 years old.
The commission also states that, by law, people with disabilities must be able to access any building or service that is available to the public, including government and private sectors.
So why then do situations like this still occur?
Image: Shawn Burns/YouTube
This is an image from the video released by the Illawarra Mercury of the man struggling down the stairs, while in the background an elderly woman can be seen, who also happens to be well-known Illawarra playwright, Wendy Richardson, 81.
“I have had incredible trouble with the stairs,” Richardson was quoted as saying in the Sydney Morning Herald. “Until I had a hip replaced in June last year, I struggled up those stairs. It would take me ages. I often felt quite precarious, particularly coming down the stairs.”
The New South Wales transport minister, Gladys Berejiklian, has called the video “distressing” and has claimed upgrades are on the way.
“It’s distressing to see anyone in the community struggle to access public transport — whether they’re elderly, customers with a disability or families with prams,” Ms. Berejiklian said.
“I want to see every station on the network accessible with ramps or lifts and that’s why, since coming to government, we have worked hard to upgrade stations as part of the Transport Access Program.”
The video has been used to hurry along a 20-year fight to have a lift installed at the Unanderra station, which has a staircase of 30 or more steps in order to access the station.