Speech: Improving public transport accessibility

The Hon. C.L. WINGARD (Gibson—Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services, Minister for Recreation, Sport and Racing) (15:27): It is with great pleasure that I rise today to speak about a silent success my team and I have been able to achieve in our local community. On both sides of the chamber I believe we work very hard in our local communities and a lot of the work we do goes unnoticed. They are probably things that only a fellow local member would appreciate. But every now and then we do have some great successes that I think have a positive impact on our community.

One such example was the work we did to help out a young man in our community, Declan Lorenzin. Declan suffers from vision impairment, he uses a cane and he is a very active member of our community. I want to paint this picture for you, Mr Speaker. Imagine catching public transport without the use of your eyes. Catching a train in total darkness, you do not know where the door is going to stop on the platform, where the doors are going to open. It is quite a daunting thing to consider. But Declan is a remarkable young man who lives in Warradale and, despite his vision impairment, he lives a very independent life and catches public transport on the Seaford line to his parents' house.

But even getting on the train is challenging for him and it is difficult to know, as I said, where those carriage doors are. So his father got in touch and we reached out to the Minister for Transport, and I thank him very much for his engagement with this. We met at the Oaklands station with someone from DPTI and we had a look at the situation. When you get to a platform at a train station, as you do at Oaklands, if you have your sight you will notice on the edge the little round circles that indicate where the edge of the platform is, and that works wonderfully well for Declan. But as you can understand, when the train pulls up, he is not aware of where the doors are and where he should be.

Painted on the ground is a blue box with the wheelchair symbol so that people in a wheelchair can be there and the train can pull up, the doors will open and the platform will come out for them to get on. It is blue but, if Declan cannot see it, how does he know where to stand where those doors will be? With the great work of DPTI, we came together to find a solution. Some markings were put down right alongside the blue box which pointed in the direction of where the train doors will be and, when Declan goes to the station now he can find that position, find the markings with his cane that he uses so ably and know that he is standing in the right spot so that when the doors open he can get straight onto the train.

We are also working with some more advanced messages. In light of this ability or situation to help Declan, DPTI have asked him to be a part of a working group to help inform them of things that can be done and changes that can be made to make these facilities more accessible for people living with a disability. Using people like Declan, with that real-life experience, will be fantastic. It is one of the wonderful things we get to do in our community and I think that was a really great win with a great outcome.

Again, I want to thank Declan for getting involved, his dad for raising that issue and the team in my office for all working together to get such a great solution. While chatting with Declan, I found out that he is a member of the Tutti Arts choir as well. It has been quite a big year for Tutti Arts. Earlier this year, they moved the staff into a new headquarters at Brighton—near the Brighton train station, coincidentally. Tutti was started at Minda way back in 1997 as a small singing group.

Around our community, the people from Minda do a wonderful job. They get out in our community and quite often you will see them at functions. Amy, who I would say is one of the lead singers in the Tutti ensemble, has been involved with them for ages. She shares the same name as my eldest daughter and we always have a laugh and a smile about that. She is a beautiful young person and has been there for a long time.

Tutti do a great job. As I said, they started in 1997 and have since grown. They now stretch into drama, music and other creative arts areas. It is a fantastic group of people, and, they have just moved into these new facilities, so it will be wonderful to see them grow even further. Tutti is a registered NDIS provider, too, so there is funding available for people with an NDIS plan to access services and achieve a whole range of individual goals, such as learning new skills or gaining confidence. They do an outstanding job in our community and they do a wonderful body of work helping people develop in the arts.

I commend Pat Rix, Tutti CEO, artistic director and founder, for building up such an amazing organisation and continuing to lead artists and audiences to exciting places. They are a great group of people. If you ever see them out, look out for Amy and Declan. They are a big part of that group and I thank them for the work they do in our community.

Authorised by Corey Wingard MP, Member for Gibson. Level 2, 1 Milham Street Oaklands Park SA 5046. ©Copyright / Legal / Login