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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 7 Hansard (24 September) . . Page.. 2149 ..

MR RUGENDYKE (continuing):

Mr Speaker, I trust that my Assembly colleagues will recognise the urgency of this situation and that they will support the motion for holding an inquiry into this matter, which can make a difference to the disabled community in Canberra.

MR HARGREAVES (11.10): I move the following amendment to Mr Rugendyke's motion:

Add the following words:

"and the Committee, during its inquiry:

(a) give specific consideration to and report on:

(i) the provision of transport services for students attending special schools, patients attending rehabilitation programs at the Canberra Hospital and older citizens attending day care programs at the Belconnen and Tuggeranong Health Centres;

(ii) the general operation of transport services for residents with disabilities; and

(iii) the Government's community service obligation in this area; and

(b) review any cost comparison of the current provision of bus and taxi services in this area with that of the proposed changed service for rehabilitation patient transport.".

I rise to support very strongly Mr Rugendyke's call for an investigation into what is a rather appalling service that we provide for our disabled people in the ACT. The reason why we have multicabs in this town is to try to address in some small way the social isolation that disabled people are often stuck with, Mr Speaker. What I seek to do with this amendment is to expand the inquiry by the Standing Committee on Urban Services, because there are a couple of areas, which are linked with the issues that Mr Rugendyke has raised, which were not considered by the committee in its recent inquiry into school bus services.

In my view, the obvious difficulty being experienced by the multicabs in having one for 50,000 people points to the flaw in the decision of the Canberra Hospital to substitute cabs for some of the rehabilitation buses providing services to disabled people attending rehabilitation programs. Clearly, there are not enough of them. I suspect that the end result of this will be that people will be denied access to rehabilitation programs because, plainly, the transport just will not be there to take them there. The people who travel on these services do not do so because they want to; they do so because they have to.

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