Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 6 August 2008) . . Page.. 2993 ..
financial means to do so but people with more straitened means. There are a number of initiatives that the Stanhope government might like to trumpet, and I think that they are good enough, but there is a long way to go before we obtain real social inclusion.
DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (5.54): I would like to thank Ms Porter for bringing this issue to the Assembly. Canberra does have an ageing population, and, despite the relative affluence of our community as a whole, social exclusion is an escalating problem in the ACT for our elderly.
First I think we need to acknowledge the work of the ACT Council on the Ageing. As advocates for the older people in our community, they do a tremendous job. The council’s attention to and input on issues concerning older people play a key role in keeping these matters on the government agenda. They note on their Livedrive website:
In 2002, people aged 65 and over made up about 8.8% of the ACT population. By 2032, the proportion of people aged 65 and over are expected to make up 22% of the ACT population.
So older people are clearly a group we should be focusing our attention on—and that is not just because we will inevitably join this group, barring bad luck and bad health.
The Livedrive website provides a useful resource on transport options for older people. Transport is a key factor in social inclusion. The main reason that older constituents contact my office is to tell me about their transport concerns. Access to transport is vital to social inclusion; yet, based on the concerns that I receive about public transport in Canberra, our elder citizens feel as though they are being failed in this area. What happens to the ACTION network directly impacts on the quality of life of many of the older people in this town.
An integrated transport system, including accessible and efficient taxi services and bus services, is missing from the ACT. I have had many older people contact me about problems with ACTION and taxis. Most recently, a group of older ladies who live in Ainslie have put an enormous amount of work into tracking the negative aspects of ACTION’s services, particularly the impact of network 08 changes on commuters. I sent all that information off to the minister. I hope that they get the response that they deserve, because they have put a huge amount of work into it.
The issues that they found included buses running early. This is not so much of a problem if you are on an intertown route or in peak commuter times or if you can just take your car instead. But if you miss a bus because it was early during off-peak times or weekends, you might have to wait for up to an hour for the next one to come. That might mean that you miss your appointment. One of these women told us that it took her about half a day to get over to her bridge in Fyshwick—an enormous part of her quality of life. It is just not worth it for her and she might have to stop doing that. She lives in Ainslie.
And there is the safety and amenity of our interchanges, particularly Civic interchange. There are concerns around the traffic on Northbourne Avenue and about trying to find