Hidden disabilities now

seen by Transport NSW

Liesl Tesch, Member for Gosford, alongside Jenny Aitchinson, Minister for Regional Transport and Roads, and Kate Washington, Minister for Disability Inclusion, announced last Friday the extension of the Transport for NSW Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Program to Gosford and Woy Woy.

19 April 2023


THE Hidden Disabilities Sunflower program allows commuters to access a free sunflower lanyard to wear while travelling, which discreetly indicates they have a hidden disability and may require assistance.


This means that people with hidden disabilities such as autism, dementia, chronic pain or anxiety can now have more confidence navigating the rail network right across NSW.


Minister for Disability Inclusion, Kate Washington said, “This is a great initiative, it helps make the invisible visible. It increases confidence and reduces barriers for people with a disability using our public transport network in the city or the country.


“Every weekday it is estimated 140,000 people with a hidden disability will be using the rail network, so this allows them to feel more confident about taking a train and going where they need to go.”


Sunflower lanyards are now available at 20 stations on the intercity and regional train network. These include Albury, Armidale, Broadmeadow, Canberra, Casino, Coffs Harbour, Dubbo, Gosford, Grafton, Katoomba, Kempsey, Lithgow, Moree, Newcastle Interchange, Picton, Tamworth, Taree, Wagga Wagga, Wollongong and Woy Woy.


Member for Gosford, Liesl Tesch said, “Making public transport services and infrastructure more accessible and inclusive is something I will continue to advocate for in my community.


“I’m really pleased to see local train stations on the Coast selected as part of 20 new locations where someone with a hidden disability can request a sunflower lanyard. This is a great initiative that will increase awareness, educate more broadly and help make the travels of vulnerable members in our community more comfortable.”


Transport for NSW have been working with Autism Spectrum Australia to develop training for their staff to be able to support them to help people with hidden disabilities use trains with greater comfort. Around 90 per cent of Sydney Trains and NSW TrainLink customer service staff have already undertaken the training. You can identify staff who have completed the training as they will be wearing a sunflower pin.


Minister for Regional Transport and Roads, Jenny Aitchinson said, “We know transport is a social determinant of health, education, opportunity and jobs, and people living with disabilities really need to have assistance with public transport to get them where they need to go.


“To have this initiative rolled out into the regions is important for inclusion, to ensure people in regional areas who are already transport disadvantaged have that got that extra assistance they need to make full use of the facilities.”


NSW TrainLink customer service attendant, Rory Keyes said, “I have autism and sensory issues, and it is awesome that through this program people like me are being heard and better understood.


“I love my sunflower lanyard and wear my whistle on it. It is important for customers to see some staff wearing a lanyard too, as it demonstrates we are an inclusive workplace.”



The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower program is a global initiative across 39 countries, where staff are being trained in workplaces like airports, supermarkets and emergency services.


If you would like a Hidden Disability Sunflower lanyard sent to you for free, you can apply online at

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