Public Transport Access Committee
The Public Transport Access Committee, also known as PTAC, provides independent advice to the Minister for Public Transport and, where relevant, the Minister for Public Transport Infrastructure, with the aim of creating a public transport system that is inclusive and accessible to all Victorians. PTAC is accountable to the Minister for Public Transport. The Department of Transport’s Transport Accessibility & Inclusion branch provides secretariat support for the committee.
Terms of Reference
PTAC independently identifies public transport accessibility issues and provides advice to inform a user centred perspective on the accessibility of Victoria’s public transport system.
To perform its role, PTAC:
- identifies current and emerging public transport accessibility issues affecting or likely to affect people with disability or with mobility issues in Victoria’s growing, more diverse and ageing communities
- considers the views of people with disability or with mobility issues, the relevant organisations and peak bodies, and the broader community to identify issues and understand broader user experiences regarding accessibility
- serves as the key source for consultation regarding the accessibility of the public transport system
- provides advice to the transport portfolio Ministers, the Department of Transport (DoT) and its agencies or, upon referral, to Commercial Passenger Vehicle Victoria (CPVV), on the accessibility aspects of key public transport projects, initiatives or strategies, to ensure that they appropriately take into account accessibility.
PTAC also investigates and provides advice on any public transport accessibility matters referred by the Minister for Public Transport.
There are seven members in the committee, including an independent Chair elected per quarter by the members to act in this role.
Members have extensive experience and knowledge about issues that affect people with disabilities, older people and vulnerable groups.
PTAC Members represent a cross-section of the community, including:
- men and women
- young people and seniors
- residents of regional Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne
- people with sensory and physical disabilities
- people with visible and invisible disabilities
- professionals working in disability, accessibility and related sectors.
PTAC meetings are held monthly.
To ensure business continuity, PTAC members are appointed for staggered terms of 12 or 24 months.
After acquiring a disability, Mark left his corporate career and retrained as a careers counsellor focusing on people with a disability. In 2011, Mark was the recipient of the Winston Churchill Fellowship researching best practice career advisory services for university students with a disability in the UK.
Since then Mark has been working in the disability employment area with Bravo Consulting, working with secondary, tertiary and in the post education sector as well as involved with NDCO, NDIA and DEA with general training or advice for people working with people with disabilities or direct advice to people with disabilities.
In 2019, Mark worked on advisory groups for the Victoria Alive project and the national reference group for the international initiative for disability leadership. Mark is a regular user of public transport to access employment opportunities and participate in life. He is keen to contribute towards building a more accessible public transport network and identifying innovative ways to provide effective transport services to people with disabilities.
Dr Kevin Murfitt
Kevin is a Senior Lecturer in Disability and Inclusion at the School of Health and Social Development at Deakin University, and a Research Fellow leading evaluation on an employer engagement initiative to build disability confidence and inclusive practices in small to medium businesses. Kevin is an active member of Blind Citizens Australia, he volunteers with Dog Guide Handlers Australia (DGHA), leading their advocacy work, and has extensive board experience in the Not-for-Profit and disability sector, having served for more than nine years as Chair on the Vision Australia board.
He also has working knowledge of the accessible public transport standards, having been one of four disability representatives on the Federal Attorney General’s Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport Working Group from 1997 to 2000.
During the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2017, Kevin was awarded a Member of The Order of Australia (AM) for “Outstanding service to people who are blind or have low vision and in inclusive education”.
With qualifications in social work and lived experience of disability, Liz has 15 years’ experience working in the disability sector. Liz has worked as a Family Liaison Officer with Villa Maria Catholic Homes, assisting families to navigate the disability service system and prepare for the roll out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Liz has served as the Chair of the Youth Disability Advocacy Service (YDAS) and as a member of the Association for Children with a Disability’s Board, the City of Maroondah’s Disability Advisory Committee and the former Taxi Services Commission’s Accessible Taxi Advisory Committee (ATAC).
Travelling with a motorised mobility device, Liz has a deep understanding of the barriers faced by people using a mobility aid when navigating the public transport network. Liz has previously served as a PTAC member, from 2016 to 2019. Liz is currently undertaking study in Cert IV Training and Assessment.
Sarah works mainly as a documentary writer and director, and for the past 20 years has worked mostly making media for, by and with people with disabilities. With an extensive background in film making and lived experience of disability, as the parent of a teenage wheelchair user, Sarah has spent considerable time and effort focussing on disability rights and activism. Her first documentary Untold Desires dealt frankly with the topic of sexuality and disability. This film won numerous awards including a Logie Award and an AFI Award. In 2003, Sarah developed the award-winning community television series No Limits and was the founding series producer of this long running disability themed series.
In 2010 Sarah travelled to the USA and England on a Churchill Fellowship to interview disability activists who lead campaigns for accessible public transport. This research forms part of her latest documentary film, Defiant Lives, a history of the disability rights movement. Sarah is the founder of disabilitybusters.com, a video on demand site to showcase programs about disability.
She has previously served as a PTAC member, from 2016 to 2019.
Born and raised in Bairnsdale, East Gippsland, Jeff lost his sight at the age of nine. He spent the majority of his education through mainstream schools in Bairnsdale, but at the age of fifteen Jeff commenced schooling at North Rocks School for The Blind in NSW, where he learned to read braille, and built mobility and daily living skills. He went on to study social work at the Institute of Social Welfare in Melbourne and built a successful athletic career, which included participation to five Paralympics and five World Championships, competing in the long-distance events and the marathon.
In the past, Jeff was the founder and President of the Victorian Blind Sports Association and was involved in the development of the Australian Blind Sports Federation, where he served as Victorian representative to the board from 1979 to 1988. From 1997 to 2000, Jeff was a member to the board of the Australian Paralympics Association Athletics. He has also served as the Vice President of the Australians for Disability Diverse Employment centre, where he had a significant role in developing the project Disability Advocacy Research Employment (DARE). From 2016 to 2019, Jeff was a member of the Victorian Disability Advisory Council (VDAC) and he also represented the East Gippsland Shire at the Municipal Association Victoria Human Services Committee and Arts and Culture Committee.
Jeff has previously served as a PTAC member from 2018 to 2019. Currently chair of the East Gippsland Shires Disability Advisory Committee 2020.
Katherine is a Disability Access and Inclusion Planner at Maribyrnong City Council. Previously, she had worked as a Transport Accessibility Project Officer at the Disability Resources Centre, where she managed a research project aiming to understand the experiences of public transport users with disabilities in Victoria. In this role, Katherine conducted forums across Victoria, to gather information from over 400 Victorians and prepare a report for the Office for Disability.
Through this work, Katherine has developed relationships with community organisations and individuals across the state who advocate for public transport accessibility in their region, and has built an in-depth understanding of the challenges and barriers that people with disabilities face when trying to access opportunities by using public transport in Melbourne and Victoria.
Katherine has personal experience of living with a disability which affects her energy levels and balance. Because Katherine’s disability is invisible to the public, she is familiar with the challenges of being a public transport user with specific requirements. Katherine’s experience and understanding of disability and inclusion issues, through her personal struggles and her work, drive her commitment to work in improving public transport accessibility across Victoria in a meaningful and practical way.
Katherine has previously served as a PTAC member, from 2018 to 2019.
Mark is the Access and Inclusion Officer of the Greater Shepparton City Council. Mark is living with a disability and is a wheelchair user. Mark holds a Bachelor of Urban, Rural and Environmental Planning, and an Advanced Diploma of Disability. Mark has held several roles in the disability sector, including working as a Disability Access Consultant, providing advice relating to complying with the Australian Building Codes and Access Standards. This experience has enabled Mark to appreciate the importance of broader awareness around accessibility issues and the need for good coordination across the public and private sectors to improve accessibility to our legacy systems efficiently and cost-effectively.
Mark is a frequent user of public transport in Victoria, but he also has experience using public transport in other states and territories in Australia, as well as in Asia. He has previously served as a PTAC member, from 2018 to 2019.