Community transport services assured for Goulburn Mulwaree and the Upper Lachlan

MINISTER for Transport Gladys Berejiklian recently said that Home Care had agreed to deliver community transport services to Goulburn Mulwaree and Upper Lachlan Shire.

Ms Berejiklian was responding to concerns from residents about community transport after Goulburn Mulwaree Council confirmed they would relinquish the service.

“I can assure the community that community transport services will continue and that everything is being done to ensure there is minimal impact on existing community transport customers during the transition, which is expected to formally occur on 1 March,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“I’m advised that Transport for NSW is working with Home Care and the council to ensure a smooth transition - such cooperation from all parties is essential.”

Home Care has agreed to provide the service for 12 months and work is already underway to identify a long term provider.

Ms Berejiklian said the NSW Government was committed to supporting local community transport across NSW.

“The NSW Liberals and Nationals Government have increased funding for the Community Transport Program by $12 million over four years,” she said.

The Goulburn/Mulwaree Council will hand back the service on February 28 and Homecare will take over the service on March 1, 2013.

GOULBURN and District Community Transport is an essential service that provides residents in the Goulburn/Mulwaree and Upper Lachlan areas with transport to varied destinations.

Some of these residents that utilise the service are wholly reliant on the transport and have no other way of getting to town for shopping or to medical appointments.

Many don't have family in the area and face the fear of being isolated and deprived if the service was to disappear.

The service also extends to individuals car transport, which volunteer drivers help residents to medical appointment outside the local areas including Bowral, Sydney and Canberra.

This service provides transport to members of the community who are frail aged, people who have a permanent and functional disability and their carers.

There is a fortnightly bus service to Goulburn on a Thursday and this door to door service can be booked for a small charge of $10 return from Goulburn.

The transport service is available to residents in the Tuena, Taralga, Binda, Bigga, Gunning and Grabben Gullen areas as well as the township of Crookwell.

The transport program is funded by the NSW Government and it aims to address the needs of residents living in outer lying villages and areas of less than 500 residents who don't have access to public transport. Residents who have no other means of transport or assistance or people whose physical health state renders them with a permanent or temporary mobility disability.

This is for people who need to access community facilities and resources, which are not available within the areas when conventional public transport operates.

All HACC clients are eligible for funding under the CTP program. However, the CTP program is also for "transport disadvantaged" clients.

Many local residents are reliant on this service:

+ One older resident who lives out of                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Crookwell has been relying on the service for the ten years it has been operational.

She lives alone and does not drive.

She has no relatives in the area and she relies on the service to bring her to town for shopping, medical appointments and payment of bills.

The service gives her independence, friendship and the ability to socialise and talk to others.

+ Another older Crookwell resident uses the service three times a week to visit her husband who is in permanent care.

She has handed in her licence and depends on the service for shopping and paying bills as well as the regular visits to her husband.

It is not only single people who depend on the transport service:

+ An older couple, with the husband in a wheelchair relies on the community bus as it is fitted with a wheelchair lifter.

They use the service for grocery shopping and bill paying.

Without the bus they would not be able to access medical appointments in Goulburn and Crookwell.

This couple has only been in Crookwell a short time and with the use of the bus service they have been able to meet people who also use the service and make a new circle of friends.

+ Another couple, with the husband also in a wheelchair and suffering from Parkinson’s disease, relies on this service for a weekly appointment.

The wife is his sole carer and uses the service to pay bills and a small amount of shopping without leaving her husband for a long amount of time.

She recently suffered a health scare herself, so walking long distances is not advisable.

Community transport is a vital service for Crookwell and the surrounding areas.

It gives the older and most valuable residents their independence.

It provides them with friendship and interaction particularly to those who might otherwise be isolated in the own homes.

Community transport is more than a pickup and drop off service……

If you are intending to use this service and haven't used it before you will need to phone the transport office for an assessment before booking. Phone 48234499 or Sheree Rice 0437119359

Sheree Rice, Goulburn/Mulwaree and Upper Lachlan Shire Community Transport Driver

Sheree Rice, Goulburn/Mulwaree and Upper Lachlan Shire Community Transport Driver