Thursday, 10 November 2011
Lonsdale Railway Station
The Hon. K.L. VINCENT: I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the minister representing the Minister for Transport Services questions regarding the safety of the Lonsdale train station.
The Hon. K.L. VINCENT: On Tuesday afternoon of last week, 1 November, there was a tragic event at the Lonsdale train station. I have been contacted by a constituent who is a worker at Minda’s Lonsdale packing facility about the occurrences on this day at the station’s pedestrian crossing. I am told that a man with an intellectual disability, who worked at the nearby Minda furniture-making facility, was making his way home from work and, as I understand it, without realising that a train was approaching the station, the man went back on to the tracks to retrieve a bag he had dropped. In circumstances that I imagine were very distressing to all who witnessed it, the man was stuck by the moving train and killed. I am told that this is a situation that took some time for emergency services and police to manage, and the station was hence closed for some hours.
The train station is a transport hub for many workers from Minda’s two facilities located at Lonsdale. Given that many of these workers have an intellectual disability, I am left thinking of what safety measures may be of benefit to these commuters who frequent the station. I believe that several other pedestrian crossing stations on this line have automatic closing gates. This includes the crossing on Brighton Road within the minister’s electorate of Bright. My questions to the minister are:
1. Given last week’s tragedy and the demographic of the commuter population at Lonsdale station, what action has the minister taken to improve safety at this location?
2. To prevent this occurring again, will the minister as a matter of urgency install automatic gates at the Lonsdale train station pedestrian crossing similar to those in her electorate?
3. If the minister will not install automatic gates at the Lonsdale pedestrian crossing, will she concede that she prioritises the wellbeing of those in her own electorate above the safety of people with disabilities who would benefit from extra protective measures?
The Hon. R.P. WORTLEY (Minister for Industrial Relations, Minister for State/Local Government Relations): I thank the honourable member for this important question. It truly is a very tragic event, which I think deserves the utmost attention. I will refer the question straight to the appropriate minister in the other place.