Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 2 Hansard (27 February) . . Page.. 345..
Motion (by Mr Moore ) proposed.
That the Assembly do now adjourn.
Pensioner concession cards
Barrington Gardens-pedestrian access
Lewis Luxton Crescent-bus shelter
MR HARGREAVES (3.44): Mr Speaker, I rise in the adjournment debate to express my concern about lack of some services for older people in the electorate of Brindabella and across Canberra generally. I think the services for older people have been delivered dreadfully by the Minister for Urban Services and the government, and I wish to give three examples of that.
The first one is the refusal of the government to allow pensioners to use their concession cards for bus travel in peak hours. We all know that older people cannot demand medical and other appointments outside peak hours, and there is a very good chance that at least one of the journeys will be in the peak time. I have had many constituents complain to me that they are being discriminated against on the basis of their holding an age pension concession. I cannot see for the life of me, on my observation of the capacity of buses during peak hours, that the use of concession cards would be any drain at all on the government's coffers.
Mr Speaker, in August of 1999 I asked the minister to provide a safe pedestrian access from Barrington Gardens, an estate for older people, to the Lanyon marketplace. The minister's response was to insist that elderly people using walking frames negotiate steep inclines and use underpasses. He forgets that these inclines are impossible to negotiate for people with walking frames or people who are frail and he forgets that they will not use underpasses. They try to cross flat sections of roads and take a risk with the traffic. The minister said he wished to encourage the use of underpasses. A lady whom I visited in Barrington Gardens was incapable doing that. She has been abandoned by this minister.
In December of 1999 I asked the minister to consider the provision of a bus shelter in Lewis Luxton Crescent, also near Barrington Gardens, for the use of people in that old persons estate. The minister conducted a survey over two days in respect of the needs of these older people. What has been done is deplorable. The minister wrote back to me on 10 December 1999-and I intend to table these documents, Mr Speaker-
Mr Smyth: 1999?
MR HARGREAVES: December 1999. The minister has a memory lapse and the reason for that will become obvious. He said that the survey results do not justify a shelter at this bus stop but that he is aware that the stop is frequented by a number of elderly people and, on that basis, "I am prepared to place this request for a shelter on the priority list for inclusion". He said: