Transport is a hot topic

TRANSPORT, or the lack thereof in Emerald was the hot topic discussed by members and representatives of the elderly and disabled communities at a meeting this week.

Bluecare Assistant Respite co-ordinator Sorene Bayly organised the meeting to exchange ideas on how Emerald transport could better cater for these sectors of the community.

Ms Bayly described the meeting as a brainstorming session to work out how to move forward.

“Today is about trying to get support and get the information out there,” she said.

“We want to have a community transport service for the financially disadvantaged and chronically ill or disabled.

“It's not just transport to medical appointments that we need, it's transport to the shops, the post office and back.

“We have to purchase a suitable vehicle, insure drivers and the vehicle, and then there's maintenance, so there's a lot to think about.”

Local resident and former councillor Colin Brunker led the discussion.

“We all see the need for it, we've just got to do something about it,” he said

“We need a committee to get this up and running.”

Semita House services manager Rachel Freeman signed up for the committee.

“The young disabled that we care for are staying at home and not participating in the community,” she said.

“Transport is a major problem for us. The taxi voucher system whereby the young people get subsidised taxi travel is still very expensive, especially if you don't have a wage.

“If they want to access work, education, and movies, they're very limited.

“A cheaper alternative would make everything more accessible.”

Juliette McCorley, Manager of Yumba Bimbi Respite Service, also signed up.

“We want to promote community inclusion to increase the independence and self worth of our clients.”

Central Highlands Regional Council Mayor Peter Maguire attended the meeting to offer the council's support.

“The council would certainly get involved with something like this,” he said during the meeting, outlining the two main problem areas to be transport to Rockhampton and back, and the local transport issue.

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