By Lift Redfern Coordination Group/Committee
Statement prior to the debate: On Monday, 16 July 2012 representatives of the NSW Minister for Transport, Transport NSW and the Lift Redfern: Make Redfern Station Accessible community campaign met to discuss the request contained in our petition to the NSW Parliament.
As a result of this meeting, Lift Redfern believes the Minister’s office and Transport NSW now fully understand that our community campaign, regarding a matter of significant public concern, is a very ‘broad church’ with wide community support.
Lift Redfern has respectfully requested that the Minister takes positive steps to end the futile twenty odd year blame game that has been used as an excuse to avoid substantially progressing the planning process for the upgrade of Redfern station.
As the second most important station for interchange opportunities within the rail network used by an ever increasing number of patrons in an area of significant actual and projected population growth through urban and economic renewal, the upgrade of Redfern station must be firmly placed above party politics.
By addressing Redfern station’s significant access issues an annual loss of economic opportunity for our State economy of many tens of millions of dollars can be reversed. Over time a substantial investment in the redevelopment of Redfern station will reap many returns on a variety of socioeconomic levels, substantially increase ‘the size of the economic pie’, and grow the taxable entity and GST base.
The redevelopment of Redfern station would also provide some relief to other stations on the City Circle, and the wide range of interchange possibilities at Redfern station could be fully exploited.
The upgrading of Redfern station is a very large and costly project that will take a number of years to deliver. As Sydney is our nation’s global city and Redfern station is the major gateway onto the City Circle and into the Central Business District, Lift Redfern urges that the development of Redfern station be a major fast-track priority project in the NSW Government’s soon-to-be released Transport Master Plan.
In discussing interim cost-effective possibilities to provide access to at least one platform, while proper planning for the redevelopment of the station occurs, our representatives put to the Minister’s office a scenario whereby lift access could be provided to platforms 11 and 12.
Platforms 11 and 12 are known locally as the Eastern Suburbs Line and were developed some ninety years later than the other ten platforms. The line is underground and is physically distinct from the rest of the station. As an interim access measure, persons with access needs could change at Central to the Eastern Suburbs Line for access to and from Redfern station.
Any Treasury funds applied to providing access to platforms 11 and 12 as an immediate measure to provide a lift access point at Redfern station to the rest of the network would not be funds wasted over the longer term.
Turning to the Parliamentary debate on Redfern station which will likely occur round 4.30pm on 23 August 2012, Lift Redfern has invited the Minister to attend a media opportunity either prior to or just after the debate.
* While the debate about Redfern station has passed (read the Vox pop: from the public gallery article), this statement has been reprinted in full for the historical record.
In NSW, a parliamentary debate such as what occurred as part of the Lift Redfern campaign is triggered when 10,000 signatures are presented to Parliament.
Introduced in 2011 by the NSW Government, Premier Barry O’Farrell claimed that these People’s Petitions would “restore accountability and re-empower local communities”.
By forcing the Parliament to discuss a matter important to a substantial number of people, petitioning is another form of democracy in action, just like voting.
Of course, collecting 10,000 plus signatures requires work. For the campaign, this meant people volunteering their time to petition for signatures at Redfern station from sunrise to sunset and walking the streets, door knocking, in the nearby residential areas. Petitions were also coordinated with local schools, community organisations and shops.
Originally published in Inner Sydney Voice, Issue 116, Spring 2012