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Queensland Accessible Transport Advisory Council

Customers boarding a train at an assisted boarding platform

About the Queensland Accessible Transport Advisory Council 

The Queensland Accessible Transport Advisory Council (the Council) is an independent advisory body. It was established to provide strategic policy and technical accessibility advice on significant transport and infrastructure projects across the Queensland Government transport portfolio.

The Council will provide this advice to the Minister for Transport and Main Roads, the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) and Queensland Rail (QR) to ensure Queensland delivers a single integrated transport network accessible to everyone.

The Council is jointly administered by TMR and QR and supported with a TMR-appointed Secretariat.

Chair—Queensland Accessible Transport Advisory Council

Michael FordRetired District Court Judge Mr Michael Forde has been appointed as the inaugural Council Chair. Mr Forde was admitted as a barrister in 1974 and served at the Bar of Queensland for 20 years. In 1995, Mr Forde was appointed to the District Court before retiring from the bench in 2009. 

Mr Forde holds a Masters in Public Sector Management (Hons) from Griffith University and in 2004, was awarded a Special Commendation in Judicial Excellence from the Australian Institute of Judicial Administration.

Mr Forde also led the New Generation Rollingstock Train Commission of Inquiry and his recommendations highlighted the importance of early and authentic engagement with people with disability to deliver functional and compliant design solutions. 

Mr Forde's report was welcomed by the disability sector as the recommendations demonstrated his understanding of the community's concerns and requirements. 

Independent members

The Council consists of:

  • the Chair
  • 7 independent members appointed by the Minister for Transport and Main Roads for a term of up to 3 years
  • 1 TMR representative
  • 1 QR representative. 

In March 2021 The Minister for Transport and Main Roads announced the 7 new independent members of the Council. 

A number of members have a lived disability, including hidden disabilities. 

Dr Emily Steel

Emily Steel

Dr Emily Steel holds a PhD in Law, Masters in Public Health and Bachelors degree in Occupation Therapy. Dr Steel has extensive experience in research, policy and practice across Universal Design, health and disability services. 


Mr John Mayo, Deputy Chair—Queensland Accessible Transport Advisory Council

John Mayo

John Mayo is Chief Advisor – Government, at Spinal Life Australia. Mr Mayo has extensive experience as an access and inclusion advocate and policy advisor about accessibility. 

Mr Mayo has worked on many accessible public transport projects. He has provided accessibility advice on customer access to public transport vehicles, buildings, infrastructure, precincts and information - all aimed at maximising the social and economic performance of venues and regions.

Mr Mayo is a member of the National Accessible Transport Taskforce. This taskforce works towards modernising the Australian public transport legislation. Mr Mayo is a recipient of the United Nations international Year of the Build Environment Award (Accessibility).


Ms Sarah Hartley

Sarah Hartley

Ms Sarah Hartley is a lawyer with a background in discrimination law and advocating for people with disability at Vision Australia. Ms Harley has a vision impairment and has consulted on a number of public transport projects.


Ms Wendy Lovelace

Natalia Naumann

Ms Wendy Lovelace is a registered architect with extensive experience in accessible design within the build environment. Ms Lovelace has worked across public transport and liveable housing design and has Multiple Sclerosis and uses a powered wheelchair.


Ms Natalie Naumann

Natalia Naumann

Ms Natalie Naumann has a background in project management and local government, with extensive experience working on accessible public transport projects in North Queensland. Ms Naumann has Scoliosis and as a Townsville resident, represents regional Queensland.


Mr Shannon Wandmaker

Shannon Wandmaker

Mr Shannon Wandmaker is an aviation consultant with a strong background in aviation security and passenger facilitation. Mr Wandmaker is a haemophiliac with arthritis, and is an advocate for hidden disabilities.


Dr Kelly Bertolaccini

Dr. Kelly Bertolaccini

Dr Kelly Bertolaccini has a PhD in engineering and has undertaken extensive research into inclusive transport and urban planning. Dr Bertolaccini has worked extensively in academia to better understand the impact of accessible design and engineering for people with disability.


Through a combination of lived experiences, involvement in peak disability groups and technical and academic knowledge, the Council members will deliver and provide an informed input to assist the Queensland Government make informed decisions about accessibility and building an inclusive society for all Queenslanders.  

All appointments to the Council are made in accordance with the requirements of the Queensland Cabinet Handbook.

For more information on the Council, contact

Last updated
11 October 2021