The Victorian Government has appointed an inaugural Chief Accessibility Advocate to support the Victorian transport network to improve accessibility.

Tricia Malowney OAM has been appointed to the role.

Ms Malowney brings valuable experience to the role as a member on a number of boards including the Disability Leadership Institute, NDIS Independent Advisory Council, Fire Rescue Victoria Strategic Advisory Committee, Melba Services and the Urgent Action Fund for Women Asia Pacific. 

Ms Malowney is an inductee of the Victorian Honour Roll of Woman and was awarded the Medal in the order of Australia in 2017 for her advocacy work for women with disabilities.

In addition, Liz Ellis has been appointed to the role of chair of the Accessible Transport Advisory Committee, with two new committee members, Melissa Hale and Martin Stewart, as well as the reappointment of Mark Tomkins.

The Committee provides strategic advice to the Government and supports the delivery of the Accessible Public Transport in Victoria Action Plan 2020-2024.

Ms Malowney will occupy the Chief Accessibility Advocate role for three years.

Victorian Minister for Public Transport, Ben Carroll, “I’d like to congratulate Tricia Malowney on her new role, and I look forward to working together to deliver a public transport system for all Victorians.

“We know there is more work that needs to be done, which is why we continue to work with operators, community groups and locals to help drive solutions and identify how we can make our transport network better for everyone.”

Chief Accessibility Advocate, Tricia Malowney, said, “I commend the Minister, the Secretary and the Department of Transport for taking this innovative decision to appoint a member of the disability community to advocate for transport accessibility solutions, which will improve the lives of all Victorians.

“Accessible transport is essential to the social and economic inclusion of people with disabilities whether we live in the city or in the outer suburbs or in rural communities.

“Knowing that work is being undertaken to make our end-to-end journey seamless will relieve the concerns of many.”

Accessible infrastructure is being built into Victoria’s $80 billion investment in transport infrastructure projects, which aims to provide better, more connected and more accessible services for Victorians.

The Victorian Government has built or upgraded 36 train stations over the past seven years, to improve accessibility for the thousands of Victorians that use the stations every day.

The Victorian Government has also marked a milestone across the tram network with the final route receiving the largest and newest E-Class trams to increase accessibility.

The low-floor, Melbourne-built E-Class trams will operate on Route 58 between West Coburg and Toorak from 19 December, adding extra accessible services.

Passenger comfort will improve, with 100 E-Class trams across the network featuring audio and visual information, air conditioning, improved safety features and dedicated spaces for passengers with mobility aids or prams. 

The changes to Route 58 come ahead of works in February next year to upgrade the tram stop at Collins and Williams Street in the CBD to a level-access platform stop and follows an upgrade to the Toorak Station tram stop to a level access platform stop in June this year.

Yarra Trams CEO, Julien Dehornoy, said, “We’ve been working closely with the Department of Transport to introduce E-class trams to route 58 and I’m proud to see E-class trams running on this route as part of our wider timetable change. 

“These route changes improve accessibility across the network, provide more capacity during peak times and a more comfortable experience for everyone.”

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