Public Transport Access Committee

The Public Transport Access Committee, also known as PTAC, provides independent strategic advice to the Minister for Public Transport and PTV on public transport accessibility matters. The committee aims to create a public transport network that is inclusive and accessible to all Victorians. PTV provides secretariat support for the committee.

Terms of Reference

The Public Transport Access Committee identifies public transport accessibility issues. These include emerging, current and potential issues for people with a disability or mobility issues, and for an increasingly more diverse and ageing population, in a rapidly growing Victoria.

The committee also:

  • identifies, investigates and consults on public transport accessibility matters with:
    - people with a disability or mobility requirement
    - relevant organisations
    - government agencies
    - the broader community
  • provides strategic advice on public transport projects
  • investigates any matters relating to public transport accessibility referred by the Minister.

Membership

There are 14 members in the committee, including an independent Chair. They have extensive experience and knowledge about issues that affect people with disabilities, older people and vulnerable groups.

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
  • carers
  • professionals working in disability and related sectors (including homelessness).

Contact

Contact the Public Transport Access Committee:

By phone - call 1800 800 007

By post - addressed to PTAC Secretariat, PO Box 4724, Melbourne VIC 3001

Term

The current PTAC members are appointed for 12 to 24 months.

Members

Chris Stewart - PTAC Chair

Chris has close to 40 years’ experience working in the disability sector and currently works as Disability Planner for the City of Greater Dandenong. Chris is a founding member of and on the leadership group for the Victorian Local Government Disability Planners Network and has served on the Taxi Services Commission’s Accessible Taxi Advisory Committee (ATAC). Chris is a daily metropolitan public transport user and uses trains and buses to visit relatives in the country. Chris is legally blind and has considerable hearing loss.

Lisa Peterson

Lisa has been a consumer participant and peer educator in the homeless sector and has been a member of numerous advisory and reference groups. Lisa has growing experience working with and for local communities, in particular people who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness. Lisa has previously been homeless and uses this ‘lived experience’ to advocate for safe, reliable and affordable essential services including health, welfare, housing, employment and public transport.

Liz Ellis

Liz has over 12 years’ experience working in the disability sector having previously chaired the Youth Disability Advocacy Service (YDAS), is a board member of Association for Children with a Disability (ACD) and recently completed a term on the Taxi Services Commission’s Accessible Taxi Advisory Committee (ATAC) alongside other committees. Liz works as a Family Liaison Officer with Villa Maria Catholic Homes assisting families to navigate disability service system and prepare for the National Disability insurance Scheme (NDIS) rollout. Liz travels with a motorised mobility aid and has a detailed understanding of the barriers faced by people who use a mobility aid to navigate the public transport network.

Karleen Plunkett

Karleen lives and works in Gippsland with over 25 years’ experience working in the disability sector, advocating for regional and rural Victorians and working to ensure public transport is accessible to all of the community. Karleen has previously served on the PTAC as a key advocate for regional and rural access issues and recently left her position of 15 years as Disability Services Officer with Latrobe City Council working to ensure Latrobe City was pro-active in creating an environment that is inclusive of all the community. Karleen travels with a motorised mobility aid and has a strong passion for accessible public transport relying on Vline to provide a transport system that is not only physically accessible but also has good customer service and provides information in readable formats.

Daniel Giles

Daniel is a young man with autism and a current member of the Victorian Disability Advisory Council (VDAC) (currently reapplying for another term) and a previous member of the Youth Disability Advocacy Service (YDAS). He has also just joined the V/Line Accessibility Reference Group.

Daniel is a practising graphic designer based in Bendigo and is passionate about spreading the understanding of Autism and promoting the full inclusion of people with disabilities into the community. Daniel was a member of the Autism State Plan Stakeholder Advisory Group during its implementation and has worked closely with schools, businesses and the wider community to speak about his experience of living with autism, assisting in running disability workshops and mentoring people with autism in school settings.

Daniel regularly uses a range of public transport, including the local bus system in Bendigo, V/Line services and metropolitan services.

Jackie King

Jackie has a long-standing interest in the interface between social services, access and equity, diversity and social inclusion. She started her career as a lawyer and advocate before moving to academia and then into the world of philanthropy, social impact, strategic planning, community development and governance. Most recently she has acted as Senior Project Officer, transitioning small-medium size organsiations to the NDIS, as well as co-designing projects to build community awareness around social inclusion and accessibility.

Jackie is also Founder and CEO of Project Deborah, a women’s capacity building initiative, and holds a certificate IV in training and assessment, as well as a certificate in not-for-profit governance from the Governance Institute.

Sarah Barton

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. 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 new documentary Defiant Lives, a history of the disability rights movement.

Sarah is the founder of disabilitybusters.com and currently serves on the board of the Anne MacDonald Centre and the Stonnington Access Committee. Sarah is also the parent of a teenage wheelchair user and supports her ageing mother.

Debra Simons

Debra is a social worker with over twenty years’ experience working in the aged and disability sector, most recently as Team Leader, Aged and Disability Services at Hume City Council. Debra holds a Masters of Gerontology and proven experience working with complex clients around sensitive issues with ageing, trauma, disability and family dysfunction. Working with clients Debra has a detailed understanding of how inaccessible transport can result in isolation, financial hardship and incapacity to access social and medical care. Debra, who is legally blind, knows firsthand how the accessibility of public transport impacts on her ability to travel safely and independently to pursue professional and social opportunities.

Rebecca (Becky) Morton

Becky is based in Hamilton and has a strong interest in accessible transport for rural people and a key advocate for community transport. Over the past 40 years Becky has been associated with a range of organisations supporting people with disabilities ranging from working as a volunteer for children’s holiday programs, providing support to the Southern Grampians Disability Support Group and Western District Health Service (WDHS). For the past twelve years Becky has worked as Coordinator of the WDHS South West Community Transport Program and currently acts as Chairperson of the Victorian Community Transport Association. Becky is an immediate past member of the PTAC and made a significant contribution in bringing access issues for rural communities to the committee.

Christine Williams

Christine has almost 65 years lived experience of disability as an incomplete quadriplegic (due to polio) with a culturally and linguistically diverse perspective (Polish/Ukrainian) and has been actively involved in disability advocacy at local, state and national level since 1978. Christine is a regular public transport user and understands the challenges of navigating the network in a powered wheelchair. Christine has a strong community spirit evidenced by 17 years of voluntary service with the Salvation Army and has extensive experience serving on committees of management and boards including on the Wyndham Disability Action Group, National Ethnic Disability Alliance and as President of the Porphyria Association.

Mark Tomkins

Mark is living with disability and is a wheelchair user. He is passionate about participation and inclusion of people of all abilities, and he is actively working to promote accessibility as the Access and Inclusion Officer of the Greater Shepparton City Council. 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 Europe, Asia and North America.

Mark holds a Bachelor of Urban, Rural and Environmental Planning, and an Advanced Diploma of Disability, and is currently studying a Masters of Social Work at Latrobe University. In the past, Mark has held a number of roles in the disability sector, including working as a Disability Access Consultant, providing advice in relation to Australian building 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 in an effective and cost-effective way.

Jeff McNeill

Born and raised in Bairnsdale, East Gippsland, Jeff lost his sight at the age of nine. While he spent the majority of his education through mainstream schools in Bairnsdale, at the age of fifteen Jeff commenced schooling at Northrocks School for The Blind in NSW, where he focused on learning to read braille, and building mobility and daily living skills. Then Jeff 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, where he competed in the long-distance events, including the marathon.

Jeff is a member of the Victorian Disability Advisory Council (VDAC) since 2016. Due to his personal experience as a visually impaired user of public transport in metropolitan and regional Victoria, Jeff has been very proactive in driving consideration of accessibility and inclusion of people with disabilities within VDAC.

Previously, Jeff had established the Victorian Blind Sports Association and held President role until 1990, he was involved in the development of the Australian Blind Sports Federation, where he was the Victorian representative to the board from 1979 to 1988, from 1997 to 2000 he was a members to the board of the Australian Paralympics Association Athletics, and since 2008 he is 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). Jeff currently represents the East Gippsland Shire at the Municipal Association Victoria Human Services Committee and Arts and Culture Committee.

Katherine Marshall

Katherine is working as a Transport Accessibility Project Officer at the Disability Resources Centre, where she has managed a research project aiming to understand the experiences of public transport users with disabilities in Victoria. In this role, Katherine has conducted forums across Victoria, she has designed online surveys and has conducted interviews, to gather information from over 400 Victorians and prepare a report for the Office for Disability. Through this work, Katherine 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 challenge 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.

Matthew Holland

Mathew is a young Victorian with qualifications in public policy, through his Bachelor of Arts (International Studies) at the Swinburne University of Technology. Matthew also has professional experience working in policy, as an intern and then casual employee at the office of the State Member for Carrum, since 2015.

Mathew has worked in his community to raise and address the challenges that people with a disability are facing. He has been a member of the Committee of Management (COM) for the Association for Children with a Disability (ACD), since May 2017, and he has been involved in the Victorian Paralympic Football (Soccer) Program, since 2011. The ACD offers help to parents, carers or families of children with a disability. As a member of the COM, Mathew has advised the ACD on a number of policies which have promoted and supported the well-being of children with a disability. The Victorian Paralympic Football Team is a 7-a-side football team for men and women with cerebral palsy or an acquired brain injury. The team represents Victoria at a national tournament. The program offers people with disability the opportunity to reach and maintain high levels of achievement in competitive sport, and builds their confidence to pursue and achieve their goals in life regardless of their disability. Matthew has been involved with the program since 2011 and became team captain in 2018.