Accessibility work at the Ballarat train station will begin within six months, but major infrastructure upgrades are still far away.
This week, Grampians disAbility Advocacy Association reached an agreement with the state Department of Transport and Public Transport Victoria at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
While the 157-year-old Ballarat station is undergoing significant upgrade works outside - a new car park has been built, with a hotel and shops on the way - there is still no easy way for people with a disability to change platforms.
The precinct upgrade is separated entirely from the station itself, and is run by Regional Development Victoria.
The agreement with the state government bodies will bring automatic doors for the restaurant and accessible toilets on platform one, and more signage and tactile ground surface indicators for the vision impaired.
A raised platform to assist boarding on platform one will also be built.
As part of the precinct upgrade project, accessible car parks will be moved closer to the platform two entrance.
However, the key question - how does someone in a wheelchair or with other mobility requirements get from the new car park near platform two to platform one in a hurry - remains unanswered.
GDA will now have to return to its advocacy roots, pushing to get a Disability Discrimination Act compliant overpass and lifts in the 2020 state budget.
GDA chief executive Deb Verdon said it was pleasing to have the matter settled, with a timeline for the future.
"Obviously we would have liked to see a pedestrian overpass constructed a lot sooner, but we do accept what PTV and the Department of Transport have told us, that an overpass is an enormous piece of infrastructure and an enormous cost," she said.
"We don't think that's a reason not to do it but we accept the reality - there's no choice but to take it to budget process.
"One thing that was clear to all at the hearing is that PTV and the Department of Transport absolutely acknowledged that issues we raised were valid, they never questioned the facts."
One of the complainants in the matter, Mark Thompson, said the upgrades would help a lot of people in Ballarat as well as tourists.
"The doors for the toilets have been a problem for years," he said.
"They're heavy doors there, it's taken two people in wheelchairs or walkers, or elderly people, to get through."
A Department of Transport spokesperson confirmed the changes in the near future.
"The Department of Transport and Grampians Disability Advocacy Association have been able to work together and agree on a way forward regarding accessibility requirements to Ballarat station," they said.
"Major changes to the station will require further Government consideration and approval."
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