25 October 2001:
Mr. Chris Jones a board member of Disability Justice Advocacy Inc., is killed by a train after his wheelchair becomes stuck in a poorly maintained section of the Nunawading Rail Level Crossing.
16 November 2001:
Disability Justice Advocacy Inc. lodge a complaint against the State of Victoria with the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission on behalf of Victoria's wheelchair users This complaint argues that the current state of Victoria's rail pedestrian level crossings discriminates against wheelchair users on the basis of disability.
27 November 2001:
A public meeting is held at the Disability Employment and Action Centre to discuss Chris Jones' death. This meeting sees the formation of the Safe Transport Action Group.
11 December 2001:
Representatives from the Safe Transport Action Group and Disability Justice Advocacy Inc. meet with the Minister for Transport Mr. Peter Batchelor, to discuss the safety of railway crossings for wheelchair users.
12 December 2001:
Ms. Irene G, a mobility wheelchair user from Noble Park, is killed when her wheelchair becomes stuck at the Noble Park railway crossing.
(pic: Noble Park railway crossing, where Ms Irene G lost her life.)
The Minister for Transport Mr. Peter Batchelor announces the establishment of the Wheelchair Safety at Rail Level Crossings Taskforce. Members of the Safe Transport Action Group are invited to participate in this Taskforce.
19 December 2001:
The Wheelchair Safety at Rail Level Level Crossings Taskforce meets for the first time.
4 February 2002:
Mr. Martin Stewart, a visually impaired campaigner for safer public transport, falls underneath a train whilst disembarking at Richmond Station. Mr Stewart is dragged 200 meters by the train, and loses his arm and leg in this accident. He is now required to use a wheelchair.
28 March 2002:
Disability Justice Advocacy Inc. is granted $5000 by the Reichstein Foundation for the Safe Transport Action Group to employ a part-time campagin co-ordinator. Mr. Tom Moore, a transport activist with experience in the disability sector is appointed to this position.
3 April 2002:
The Wheelchair Safety at Rail Level Crossings Taskforce Progress Report is released.
5 April 2002:
Safe Transport Action Group members blockade Melbourne’s trains for forty minutes in protest at the time been taken by the Wheelchair Safety at Rail Level Crossings Taskforce to complete its report.
19 April 2002:
The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission receives a response from the State of Victoria regarding Disability Justice Advocacy’s Disability Discrimination Act complaint.
The Wheelchair Safety at Rail Level Crossings Taskforce Report is released. To read this report, click here.
7th May 2002:
The Victorian Government commits $12.5 million over four years to improving the safety of railway crossings for wheelchair users.
The Reichstein Foundation grant Disability Justice Advocacy $19,000 per annum over two years to: auspice the work of the Safe Transport Action Group, employ a campaign coordinator, and further develop the campaign. The position of Campaign Coordinator is readvertised and Mr. Tom Moore is appointed to this position.
October 27th 2002:
The Safe Transport Action Group in conjunction with Disability Justice Advocacy, Connex Trains and M>Trains hold STOP! Safe Transport Our Priority! a train ride and rally to promote safe, accessible public transport, and commemorate the life of Chris Jones.
(pic: Nunawading crossing, where Chris Jones lost his life".)
26 November 2002
The Safe Transport Action Group participate in the first Wheelchair Safety at Rail Level Crossings Taskforce Pedestrian Crossing Protection Upgrade Programme Disability Access Sub Committee. A Department of Infrastructure staff member tells the Wheelchair Safety at Rail Level Crossings Taskforce that 'there is no such thing as an unsafe level crossing'. Members of the Disability Access Sub Committee are also told that only $8 million wil be spent on upgrading level crossing safety for wheelchair users.
Since its inception, the Safe Transport Action Group, has heard many people with disabilities speak about the dangers of travelling on Victoria's public transport system because of safety and accessibility issues. These include life threatening incidents involving wheelchairs at level crossings, the fear felt by mobility aid users at pedestrain rail crossings, and the ongoing impact that inaccessible public transport has upon their lives. We are working to change this situation.