BAROSSA Council and the local community have welcomed the State Government’s recent announcement that the much-needed Community Passenger Network will continue through to 2020.
Minister for Communities and Social Inclusion Zoe Bettison declared recently that the Community Passenger Network and Carer Support Network SA will continue past its original contract, which was due to conclude in June 2018.
The commitment includes a further $15.1 million to help fund the two initiatives over the next two years.
Barossa Mayor Bob Sloane was pleased about the announcement, particularly for the passenger network, which operates locally.
The scheme offers transport for disadvantaged locals living in the Barossa Council and Light Regional Council by means of a car service.
“Last financial year we made 4670 community car passenger trips and our volunteer drivers covered over 260,000 kilometres, which shows how valuable this service is to our community,” Mr Sloane said.
“The extension of Community Passenger Network funding until 2020 means people who are transport disadvantaged can continue to attend medical and other essential appointments.
“We are also indebted to our volunteer drivers, who are a vital cog in the wheel and donate over 7000 hours each year to keep our services running.”
Community Transport volunteer car driver Malcolm Linke said it was great news that the important service would continue.
“We don’t have any public transport, we don’t have trains or really reliable bus services to Adelaide, so for people who have got to go to medical appointments it is really their lifeline,” he said.
“Otherwise, the only way for them to be able to get to these appointments is to, somehow, get to Gawler, then catch the train to Adelaide, but then the problem is how to get to The Queen Elizabeth (Hospital), for example.
“For some appointments you are not supposed to drive as well, so they (participants) really think it is a wonderful service.”