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June 15, 2017

Member for Wollongong, Paul Scully MP, has invited Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra and South Coast, Gareth Ward MP, to front up to a public rally at the foot of the Unanderra Station’s 72 steps and explain the Government’s latest snub for not funding the station’s lifts.


A public rally convened by the Unanderra Access Group and the Illawarra Disability Alliance will be held this Saturday morning starting at 11am.


The public rally comes ahead of the NSW Budget being handed down on Tuesday afternoon, and follows  a weekend announcement that five other stations across NSW will be upgraded with additional funding tipped into the Transport Access Program (TAP).


It also follows recent revelations that:

  • Concept design work was completed in July 2011 despite Transport for NSW officials giving the impression new design work was underway;
  • 12 people have been injured using Unanderra Station’s 72 steps, with two people having to be hospitalised for their injuries;
  • Unanderra Station ranking higher on a range of criteria than other stations, such as Leura Station, and;
  • Tourism destinations such as Nan Tien Temple struck from ranking consideration for Unanderra Station but included in criteria for Leura Station.


Mr Ward is on the public record telling the Illawarra Mercury on 4 May 2015:


I need to do the best I can to put pressure on the government to ensure that Unanderra receives the priority it deserves.


It’s clear to me that this is something that needs to be resolved.


The former NSW Labor Government allocated funding towards construction of the Unanderra Lifts in 2010, but this funding was re-allocated to other station upgrades following the election of the O’Farrell Government in March 2011.


Mr Scully, on behalf of NSW Labor, recommitted $25 million at the Wollongong by-election in November 2016 to install the lifts at Unanderra Station in the first budget of a Labor Government if it wins the 2019 election.


Comments attributable to Paul Scully MP:


“I’m inviting Gareth Ward as the Government’s representatives in the Illawarra to front up to the public rally on Saturday and explain why the Government keeps snubbing the needs of our elderly, parents with prams, and people with a disability.


“Mr Ward also needs to explain what he has done to put pressure on his Government to fund the Unanderra Station lifts since he took over the role of Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra and South Coast.


“The local community which uses Unanderra Station have waited patiently for action to build these lifts for six long years and to return the funds the O’Farrell Government took away after it was elected in 2011.


“I’m sick of the Government’s excuses and I want Mr Ward to front up and listen to the people who are asking for nothing more than a fair go to do something many of us take for granted – easy and safe access to catch a train at their local station when they want to.”