THE single, most-pressing issue facing older residents of South Gippsland, according to members of the local Active Retirees Advisory Committee (ARAC), is public transport.
It’s a shocking disgrace, they say, and must be addressed immediately as a social justice issue for the community.
“Our role is to advocate for improvements for the older people in the community with the aim of developing an age-friendly South Gippsland as expressed recently in your report,” ARAC representative Joan Turner told the South Gippsland Shire Council Last week.
“We are living longer and need to remain active in mind, body and spirit.
“And now I come to the most pressing issue facing the elderly in South Gippsland and that is public transport,” Mrs Turner said, noting that the elderly needed transport options.
Mrs Turner said there were 18 smaller towns in regional Victoria that had a local bus service but not Leongatha and Korumburra which she said needed such a service to connect people to health services, transport connections and other services.
In this she said the group supported initiatives being taken along these lines by Cr Andrew McEwen, Cr Jeremy Rich and others.
“We are already a commuter town and we need to be prepared for more retirees who are going to move our way with transport connections, sporting services and other amenities to cater to these people.”
Mrs Turner said it was most important that the elderly be helped to stay in their homes and they needed a reasonable level of services in order to do so.
She also drew councillors’ attention to a range of other issues including the safe operation of mobility scooters and the impact of poker machines.
On the positive side, Mrs Turner said the growth of the Seniors Festival over the past few years had been fantastic and had proved to be both inspiring and uplifting to older local residents.
The Mayor, Cr Lorraine Brunt agreed.
“It is important that we as councillors address the liveability of our communities and I thank you for your presentation today.”