Mark Thompson has been the facilitator of VALID’s Ballarat Peer Action Group (PAG) since its formation in 2016. The fourteen members meet the fourth Friday of every month and are strong advocates for making Ballarat accessible for all.
John Barnes, ex-Mayor of Ballarat, recently addressed the group about the State Government’s plan to remove prime land from the existing Ballarat rail station precinct and sell it to an out-of-town developer. The Ballarat community were frustrated that the government did not present a business case for the proposal that justified such a massive undertaking that was designed to benefit all of Ballarat.
“They aren’t complying with the Disability Discrimination Act and aren’t catering to the needs of people with a disability,” said Mark. The current redevelopment plans do not include measures to improve disability access in and around the customer service and platform area.
John set up a group called ‘Save Our Station’ in order to protest the proposed changes and provide a more fully integrated alternative plan, respecting all abilities and an accessible transport hub at the railway station precinct.
“Members of the peer action group were horrified when they heard this and are interested in supporting the SOS group,” Mark added. The group are strong advocates for accessibility and inclusion for all people with a disability and are very enthusiastic to join the fight.
“We plan on having our voices heard by the government because this is our community and we have the right to be listened to,” says Mark. The PAG is taking action by working together to write a letter to Minister Foley.
Find out more about our Peer Action Groups