Page 4483 - Week 12 - Thursday, 26 October 2017

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The buses servicing Narrabundah are a vital part of the daily lives of the two adolescents living in my house. They are active young people who rely on the bus network to lead fulfilling lives.

I have been a resident of the ACT for 34 years and have watched it grow and develop with a mixture of pride and sadness. At the same time that the government is opening the inner suburbs to higher-density development, it is cutting essential bus services. Downgrading transport options for Narrabundah residents is inconsistent with the objective of accommodating denser housing while protecting the environment.

And it is a decision that directly impacts the young, the disadvantaged and the frail elderly in the inner south.

Thank you for supporting the community.

The Old Narrabundah Community Council wrote to the minister saying, inter alia:

We have a high percentage of both ACT Housing and Community Housing properties in our area—30% and rising—providing homes for our most vulnerable. We are concerned that the ACT Government is restricting access for Narrabundah residents to the Rapid Route 6, impacting on residents’ access to essential services like physiotherapy, podiatry, scans, blood tests, substance addiction rehabilitation and mental health support.

Since the ONCC was formed we have not fielded as many complaints and cries for help as we have received in the last month over the cancellation of Route 5. We have heard from some families with small children that will now have to purchase a second car to enable them to get to work on time. We have a severely disabled full time resident of a care home who will now need many hours of re-education to be able to access his job in Russell. This has caused much distress for his elderly mother and carers in the home.

A notice I saw taped up on the window at a café at the Narrabundah shops says: “If you don’t want our public transport cut off, email the minister.”

This is only a handful of the feedback I have received from constituents; there are of course many more. When I asked the minister in question time on 13 September what consultation had been undertaken with bus patrons prior to unilaterally cancelling the service, her response was, “Information is being made available to residents now.” First, let us not forget the countless residents who have said the first they heard about the cancellation of the service was through the letterboxing efforts of my team. I am not sure they will agree with the minister’s claims that the information is indeed being made available to residents now.

Second, I am not sure that simply telling residents what they have lost constitutes consultation. Certainly telling them when the government has already decided to cut the service does not do much to make my constituents feel valued or that their transport needs are being met.

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