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Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian has refused to deny claims that a train station on the border of her electorate has ‘‘jumped the queue’’ and will get lifts before Unanderra station.
Quadriplegic Richard Kramer, who lives in Unanderra, has been campaigning for years to get lifts installed at his local station.
Mr Kramer said he had been told by a contact in disability services based in Sydney that Mrs Berejiklian was about to announce a station in her electorate of Willoughby would be getting disabled lifts installed.
‘‘They said it had jumped the queue,’’ Mr Kramer said.
‘‘It hasn’t gone through due process and has been put above other projects.’’
Chatswood station, in Mrs Berejiklian’s electorate, already has lifts installed but Artarmon, which is on the electorate border with Lane Cove, does not.
It has been the subject of a campaign to get lifts installed, even though stations immediately north and south already feature lifts.
A media report in January quoted Mrs Berejiklian as saying there would be a "positive outcome" to campaign efforts.
On Sunday, Mrs Berejiklian declined to confirm or deny whether Artarmon station would be getting lifts installed and whether it had been moved up the list of waiting projects.
"I am passionate about improving access to public transport for our customers with a disability," Mrs Berejiklian said.
"The former Labor government was only completing a small number of easy access upgrades per year at stations and at that poor rate it would have taken decades to upgrade all stations on the network.
"We know there is more work to do and we're getting on with the job of delivering upgrades right across the network as part of the Transport Access Program [TAP]."
A spokesman from Transport for NSW said the $770 million TAP had led to more than 120 projects completed or under way.
The spokesman did not say whether lifts at Artarmon were among the 120.
Mr Kramer said he would be "gutted" if lifts were installed at Artarmon over Unanderra.
"You've got to do a 10-minute taxi trip to to either Wollongong or Dapto to get on the train," Mr Kramer said.
"It's not just for me, it's for the whole community. Senior citizens, young parents with prams, it's ridiculous when you see a mum with a baby in a pram and two toddlers and she has to navigate the bridge, hoping there will be someone there to help carry the pram over."
The Transport for NSW spokesman said money was being spent on improving train stations in the region as part of TAP initiatives.
"South Coast customers are benefiting from the program, with a new car park at Kiama and station upgrades at Gerringong, Austinmer, Albion Park and Dapto," the spokesman said.
"We're also delivering a car park at Oak Flats Station and constructing a brand new train station at Shell Cove.
"Unanderra will be considered for future upgrades as part of this program."
This article first appeared on www.illawarramercury.com.au
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